Free weekend calls for BT customersPrice of call plans drops but other charges rise

02 February 2008

BT is changing its call prices in a shake-up that will give customers free weekend calls - but there are also price rises.

The firm said that from today, its 14.8 million customers will no longer have to pay for weekend phone calls within the UK.

But the move was coupled with price changes which will see an increase in line rental by 75p to £11.75 a month.

The price of daytime calls is also rising from 3.25p a minute to 4p a minute, and there's a rise in the cost of weekday evening calls.

Under BT's unlimited weekend plan customers will get free weekend calls, and if they take out a 12-month renewable contract they will also get free evening calls.

Cost hike for evening calls

BT said its unlimited evening and weekend plan would be cut by 22% to £2.70 a month while the cost of a third plan, which gives free calls at any time, is being cut by 25% to £5.95 a month. 

Which? phones expert Ceri Stanaway said: 'BT's price "cuts" seem designed to persuade people either to sign up to a long, rolling contract or to pay a monthly subscription if they are actually to see prices go down. 

'But those who rarely use their home phone for calls may see their bills go up because of the line rental increase. And if you don't want to be tied down to a 12-month contract, watch out for the sneaky increase in the cost of weekday evening calls - from 4.5p an hour to 1.5p a minute plus a 6p set-up charge - hiking the cost of an hour-long chat to 96p.'

Weekend calls

Ms Stanaway added that the changes were good news for people who made a lot of weekend calls, or those who made enough calls to warrant paying for a tariff with inclusive minutes. 

She said: 'For some, it might be worth shopping around as there are lots of providers that offer cheaper line rental than BT and we hope this will remain the case. And it's worth remembering that the free calls won't include calls to mobiles or non-geographic numbers.'

BT said it was increasing line rental charges from April for the first time in two years, but customers who used paper-free billing would see no change.