BT launches low cost phone service BT BasicBT Basic costs £4.50 monthly for those on benefits

09 October 2008

BT logo

BT has launched a subsidised, cheap telephone service to help low-income families in the UK cope with the rising cost of household bills.

BT Basic will offer cheap phone line rental costing £4.50 a month for people who receive one of three specific benefits – Income Support, income-based Job Seekers Allowance or Guaranteed Pensions Credit. This is less than half the £10.50 a month phone line rental which customers on the cheapest non-subsidised option pay.

The phone line rental fee includes £4.50 worth of phone calls a quarter and there is no surcharge for non direct debit payments.

Broadband users eligible

Unlike BT’s previous social telephony offering, customers on relevant benefits who have a broadband service will be entitled to sign up to BT Basic. Under BT’s former social telephony offering – its Light User Scheme - people who had broadband were ineligible for the cheap phone deal.

Claudio Pollack of telecoms regulator Ofcom said: 'We welcome and support BT Basic. Special schemes provided under the Universal Service Obligation can bring real benefits for those who have difficulty affording telephony.'

Signing up to the BT Basic phone tariff

BT has already begun automatically transferring eligible customers on to the BT Basic phone deal from old tariffs, such as the Light User Scheme. BT will be writing to all its home phone customers already on its Light User Scheme about the BT Basic phone tariff, so there’s no need for these customers to call BT.

BT has also started to put eligible new customers, who meet the criteria agreed with Ofcom and verified by the Department for Work and Pensions, on to the BT Basic phone deal. Customers should call 0800 783 1675 to inquire about BT Basic.

Home phone alternatives to BT basic

Which? telecoms expert Ceri Stanaway says: 'BT Basic is a great low cost option for eligible people on benefits who are finding it hard to cope with the rising cost of bills in the current credit crunch - but there will be many people who don't qualify. 

'If you’re not eligible for BT Basic’s phone service but think you’re paying too much for your phone bill, or you’re not happy with your home phone provider, there’s nothing stopping you from switching your phone service to a better deal.'

Take a look at our advice on choosing a home phone service , or save still more money on your phone bill by using the Which? review of phone bundles to choose a home phone service that’s bundled together with broadband, TV or mobile for one monthly fee.

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