How to choose a home phone service Finding the best home phone service
Most of us take our home phone service for granted. As long as it works we don't care how, which may explain why many of us are still with BT more than 25 years after the home phones market was opened up to competition.
A home phone service can serve as a lifeline, so it's important to choose a provider that makes the grade in terms of customer service and reliability.
You can check how home phone service providers rate for value for money and customer service in the Which? home phone services review.
Save money by switching home phone service
If you're unhappy with your home phone service, there's nothing forcing you to stay unless you're tied to a contract – and over 80% of people we spoke to found it easy to switch. Staying with the same supplier could be costly too. Our exclusive Which? survey shows that nearly two thirds of people who switched to a different company felt that they ended up paying less on calls and line rental.
Even if you've already switched, it may be worth looking at the options again as home phone deals change constantly. There are a couple of different options to consider:
- Calls only If you want to stick with BT for phone line rental but use another provider for calls, choose one that offers a calls-only option. You will get two bills – one for calls and one from BT for line rental.
- Calls and line rental You could choose to pay for both phone calls and line rental with another provider. BT will normally still own your line but your new provider pays BT for its use.
Don't get caught out by hidden extras - not paying by direct debit or getting a paper bill can mean you're charged more.
How to switch home phone service
- Choose who you want to switch to using the Which? survey in our home phone services review. Check for any cancellation or connection fees.
- Contact your chosen company to arrange the switch (you'll have to cancel with your existing provider only if you're going to or from cable).
- Switch Your existing and new provider will confirm the switch date, which should be within 10 working days.
Although paying line rental is unavoidable, for your calls you can choose whether to pay as you go or to pay for a package that includes certain types of calls. Inclusive calls packages can be worth paying an additional fee for if you use your home phone a lot, but make sure that you really do make enough calls to justify the monthly cost.
If you do take a calls package, check that the package you're paying for includes the types of calls you make. If you make a lot of calls during the day, for example, a package that only includes evening and weekend calls might not save you any money.
When choosing a package that includes free calls, remember ‘free’ may only apply to UK landline numbers that start with 01, 02 or 03. However, some providers, such as BT and TalkTalk, include 0845 and 0870 numbers. There's more information on how to save on calls to expensive phone numbers in the Which? guide to avoiding 0870 and premium-rate numbers.