Paying A Premium For The Familiar?

Landlines. I often wonder how long many will put up with them in the face of ubiquitous mobile phones and voip services but seemingly many can’t give up the habit of the familiar. British Telecom in the UK are to increase the cost of daytime calls to 7.95 pence per minute excluding the connection charge and accompany that with an increased line rental.

My pay-as-you-go mobile phone service charges only slightly above that to call landlines and mobiles at 8 pence per minute and free between people on the same network. My home phone voip service charges 0.06 pence per minute to UK landlines. That BT price is hardly competitive is it? And yet the use of landlines still continues.

What is the price rise about? Less people using landlines? Increased costs? Because they can?

Image by HowardLake under this creative commons licence


2 thoughts on “Paying A Premium For The Familiar?

  1. BT landlines have one advantage over mobiles: BT charges nothing for 0800 numbers whereas mobile operators charge calls to these at the normal rate, except perhaps for certain specified numbers. Also, the lower mobile landline tariff does not apply to “national numbers” (e.g. 0845 numbers) which they charge at a higher rate. So you save by calling these numbers also from a BT landline. Whether it’s worth keeping a landline just for these purposes obviously depends on how often you call 0800 and national numbers and how long your calls are.

    The other thing to take into account is that BT charges the same call rate no matter how often (or how seldom) you call. To get cheap(ish) calls across the board (i.e. to landlines, other mobiles, international numbers, etc) with a mobile, you need to buy a package that gives you a specific number of minutes of calls per month. If you call less than that number of minutes, then the cost is spread over fewer minutes bumping up the per-minute price. If you call more than that number, then you pay a punitive rate for the extra calls… bumping up the per minute price. PAYG may always give you the same rate however many calls you make, but the rate is not the cheapest per-minute rate (sometimes it is exorbitant).

    In other words, there isn’t one simple answer that fits everyone; it depends on your calling pattern. To get the best rate you need to record over a period how you use the phone (e.g. by setting up a spreadsheet) and then finding the tariff that most closely resembles that pattern. Most people can’t be bothered to do this and end up paying over the odds. It doesn’t help that the mobile companies keep changing their tariffs to muddy the waters.

    BTW, if your 8p/min call rate is with ASDA, they have announced an increase to 10p/min, further reducing their competitiveness with BT.

  2. No I’m not with Asda for my mobile PAYG and luckily 0800 number are still free for me.Actually 0845 numbers are not always charged at a true local rate even on a PSTN landline. It can sometimes vary. It’s 0300/03 seem to be the true local call rate non geographic number allocation even from a mobile.There are plenty of gateway services for mobiles to call so called premium rate numbers at local rates. I think you’re right that probably most people aren’t that bothered about shopping around or are just not good at doing so.

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