As the UK government pushes further with its Digital UK strategy, you’d be forgiven for thinking that landline-only deals and home phone calling packages are a thing of the past.
Figures from telecoms industry regular Ofcom show that time spent on landlines has halved since 2013, but despite this, it still accounted for more than 44bn minutes of call time in 2018.
For people who have no need for the internet, or mobile phones, a landline can still be the go-to way for people to stay in touch with their family and friends.
Browse our reviews of the best cordless phones to find out which models offer the clearest conversations and are most effective at blocking nuisance calls.
What’s the cheapest home phone package?
Landline-only providers tend to offer three types of packages to consumers based on their needs. The cheapest are usually pay-as-you-go (also known as pay-as-you-talk) where you only pay the cost of line rental and any calls you make. The most expensive deals tend to be packages that give you unlimited landline calls at any time.
While you pay more upfront for anytime call packages, the table below shows why it may be in your best interests to take out a call plan over pay-as-you-talk, even if you only make a single one-hour phone call per week.
|Provider||Landline (£ per min)||Connection Charge (£ per call)||Package cost (£ per month)||Line Rental (£ per month)||Total monthly cost – 1 call, 1 hour every week|
|BT PAYT||20p||23.29p||N/A||£11.99||£48.93 – (123% more expensive)|
|Post Office Anytime||included||included||£7.00**||£11.50||£18.50*|
|Post Office PAYT||15p||23p||N/A||£11.50||£48.39 – (162% more expensive)|
|Sky PAYT||16p||25p||N/A||£18.99||£58.39 – (103% more expensive)|
*Effective cost is inclusive of line rental and upfront charges
Another thing to keep in mind is that calls to mobile phones will be more expensive than landline calls and typically are not covered by anytime call plans.
Sky charges 19.35p per minute for calls made to mobile phones in the daytime, compared with 16p per minute for landlines. So if you plan to call family and friends on their mobile, be aware that the costs can rack up quite quickly.
How to choose a landline call plan
Providers also offer call plans that give you unlimited calls only on evenings, weekends and even both.
For example, The Post Office offers unlimited evening and weekend calls for £16.50 per month for those looking just to use their landline when they get in from work and on the weekends.
It’s important to note with evening and weekend call packages, different providers have different start and end times for what they class as evening time and the weekend.
Post Office classes evening time as 6pm-6am on weekdays, whereas Sky and BT class evening time as an hour later, from 7pm-7am.
Generally speaking, unless you’re a very light user, the analysis shows that a call plan is more likely to be cost-effective.
What other costs are associated with landline-only packages?
Most landline-only providers also have optional extras that you can add to your plan. These range from withholding your number for calls to three-way calling and voicemail. These often come with a cost for customers with landline-only packages.
These costs can range from nothing to £5.50 per month. Certain providers, such as BT, offer call feature ‘packs’, which allow you to save by bundling together call features.
If you’re interested, consider the cost of taking out these optional features and whether they are worth spending extra money on as they can significantly raise the cost of monthly call plan.
How to choose the best cordless home phone
To make the most of a landline call plan, you’ll need a phone. Our guide to how to buy the best cordless phone will give you the basics. You can browse our top cordless phones for 2020 and also see the best home phones for call blocking.
We put all cordless phones through a strict test regime to see how easy they are to use, which offer clear conversations and which can combat a range of different types of nuisances calls. Read more about how we test cordless phones.
Switch to mobile for even more savings
If you want to cut the cord and go for voice calls over the internet, you can save yourself even more money when compared with a landline.
Mobile contracts have never been cheaper, with Sim-only providers now offering unlimited minutes for as little as £5 per month.
One advantage is that there is no differentiation between landline and mobile calls, which are almost always both included in an unlimited package, whereas landline packages, as mentioned earlier, often charge separately for mobile calls.
Check out our latest reviews for the best and worst mobile networks of 2020 to find out how customers rated brands such as EE and Vodafone for network reliability, speed and value for money among others. You can also read our guide to the best cheap mobile phones.