BT has confirmed plans to increase the cost of its home phone monthly line rental, call set up fees and daytime call rates from 1st October 2010.
Line rental is set to go up by 50p a month, while daytime call charges to landlines will rise from 5.9p to 6.4p a minute. Call set up fees will also increase from 9.9p to 10.9p.
The changes will affect all customers on BT’s standard calling plans.
Find out which home phone companies have been rated top for customer satisfaction in the Which? home phone services review
Changes to BT’s home phone pricing
The cost of monthly line rental will be £13.29 rather than the current £12.79 for customers paying by direct debit and receiving a paper bill. Callers who have BT’s £1.25 paper-free billing will still receive this discount, making the line rental £12.04, up from £11.54 a month.
Call set up fees for any non-inclusive calls will go up from 9.9p to 10.9p a call. Daytime calls to UK landlines beginning 01, 02 and 03 will increase to 6.4p a minute rather than the current cost of 5.9p. These call costs will only apply to paid for calls that are not included as part of a inclusive calls package.
The higher charges will increase the cost of a one hour daytime call to a UK landline by more than 30p if these calls aren’t inclusive.
We’ve tested cordless phones from all the biggest brands, find out which make it to Best Buy status in the Which? cordless phone review
BT offer cheaper line rental by paying in advance
BT customers can opt to reduce charges by paying for a year’s line rental up front. The standard price for BT’s new Line Rental Saver is £131.88 for a year, which works out at £10.99 a month. This would reduce a customer’s annual bill by £12.60 compared to paying the new monthly charge of £12.04.
BT are currently offering a special price of £113.88 for a year’s line rental until 29th October, which is equivalent to £9.49 a month.
Line Rental Saver smallprint
To take up either offer customers must pay by direct debit and will need to have signed up for paper-free billing.
BT will contact you a month before your initial Line Rental Saver term ends to ask if you wish to renew, otherwise your line rental will default to the standard cost on a one month rolling basis.
Which? phones expert Ceri Stanaway says: ‘There’s an increasing trend for companies to offer lower prices in exchange for tying customers into long contracts. But phone deals change constantly and what suits you now may not be the best on offer a few months down the line, so only tie yourself into a long contract if you’re confident it’s right.
‘We were pleased to see that BT has made contract renewal for their Line Rental Saver ‘opt in’ rather than ‘opt out’, giving customers the choice about whether they want to tie themselves in for another 12 months once their initial term ends.
‘Don’t forget BT’s not the only home phone provider, so if you’re not happy with BT’s price hikes and don’t want to sign up to a long contract, vote with your dialling finger’.
BT’s Caller Return service
The charge for using BT’s caller return service will increase from from 12.2p to 16.5p for each use. The service allows customers to dial 1471 or 1571 and phone someone who has called or left a message. The 1571 service will also be upgraded to include a personalised greeting at no extra cost.
Changes to costs will not apply to BT Basic customers, a package created to ensure low income customers can still afford a home phone service, according to BT.
BT says it will be contacting customers between the 16th July and 31st August with a letter outlining the changes. If you’ve signed up for online billing you’ll receive the information by email.
Confused? See our guide to how to choose a home phone service
How to follow the latest Which? Tech news
Are you a Twitter user? Follow WhichTech on Twitter for regular tech tweets.
Prefer RSS? Don’t miss a thing with the Which? tech RSS feed.
For just the main headlines in newsletter form, sign-up to our weekly Which? tech email.
Apple iPad 2 3G data plans compared – find the best 3G plan for your iPad
Best Android tablets round-up – we look at the best iPad alternatives around
Best cheap laptops for under £500 – find the best laptop deals