BT, Sky and TalkTalk are delivering unwanted early Christmas presents to customers by increasing line rental prices in December. And Virgin Media has announced a similar line rental price rise for February next year.
Perhaps you’ve battled price hikes by switching provider, paid a year’s line rental up front, or combined it with a broadband and TV package. But do you know how much you’re paying for your telephone line compared to a few years ago?
We’ve tracked the cost of line rental prices and found that regular price increases by the UK’s biggest providers mean you could now be paying up to 62% more now than you did in 2008. This is much higher than the cumulative inflation rate of 20.5% and means you now pay up to £77.88 more per year if you pay monthly – and that’s before charges for call packages and individual chargeable calls.
Line rental price increases since 2008
Come 1 December, BT and Sky will increase line rental by £1 a month (6%), and TalkTalk will increase its by 75p a month (4.7%). Virgin Media will increase its prices by £1 a month (6%) from 1 February next year. This follows similar above-inflation increases of £1 a month from Plusnet and The Post Office earlier in the year. You can see how much line rental prices have increased over the past six years in this graph:
Is it time to call time on the landline?
We’re begrudgingly familiar with price rises, but considering most of us are using our home phones less and less, landline price hikes seem to sting a bit more. Ofcom reports that we made 28 billion fewer landline calls in 2012 compared to 2003. And our own research has found people are spending £14.48 less each month on their home phone in 2012 compared to 2003.
Then there are those of us who only use our landline for broadband. Virgin Media is currently the only provider that offers a ‘broadband-only’ deal within its cable network area. Yet other providers still have a mandatory line rental charge – even for fibre broadband which, unlike ADSL broadband, doesn’t use the same copper line used for your voice calls.
How much has your line rental gone up? What have you done to try and reduce your home phone costs?
Following our Fixed Means Fixed campaign, Ofcom introduced new rules that mean anyone taking a contract from 23 January 2014 onwards can cancel without penalty if the provider increases prices mid-term and didn’t warn you when you bought it. Signed-up before then? You could argue a case of ‘material detriment’ under Ofcom’s old rules.