Last year saw a watershed in the telecommunications market as the number of voice calls made from mobiles exceeded the number of voice calls made from fixed landlines. And despite being a shrinking market, it seems that landline providers are trying to make up the losses by implementing price hikes – some of which have already taken effect.
But there are ways that you can dodge at least some of the price hikes, so read on to find out…
Increasing call costs
Both Orange and BT have announced increases on call costs from landlines – Orange customers will already be feeling the effects of them while BT customers will be hit in early January next year.
And while the BT price hikes may not have too much of an impact on people’s pockets, some of the Orange increases are positively eye-watering.
The BT price rises
BT will be putting up prices by 6% as of January 5 next year, which means that line rental will be bumped up by 95p, to £15.45 per month, and the set up fee on calls will rise to 13.87p from its current level of 13.1p.
As for call costs, daytime calls will increase from 7.95p to 8.41p and evening calls will rise to 1.11p per minute from 1.05p per minute.
BT Unlimited Anytime customers will also be hit in the pocket by a 25p per month increase and any customers who pay by cheque will be charged an additional £2.00, up from £1.89.
And it will also be more expensive to leave your contract early, so if you’re thinking of switching it may be better to do so sooner rather than later.
The (relatively) good news is that once they have taken effect, BT will not implement any more price rises for at least another year – which means customers can expect more increases at the start of 2014.
The Orange price rises
Orange has already implemented its price rises and these will primarily affect customers who call international numbers as well as 08 and 09 premium rate number and, in particular, anyone wanting to get through to the men with moustaches.
Call connection fees will be going up by 0.5p to 12.5p while numbers to many 09 numbers will be rising from an already tear-inducing £1.80 per call and £1.80 per minute to £2.69 per call and £2.69 per minute.
Anyone wanting to call directory enquiries should probably stick to BT’s 118 500 number, which will be going up from 45p per call and 26p per minute to £1.40 per call and £1.80 per minute – yes you read that right!
If you call 118 118 then you’ll be charged £2.30 per call and then £1.80 per minute, so the men with moustaches may find that they’re not as popular as they once were!
Other increases include calls to international numbers which are based upon which zone the country you are calling is placed in. So anyone with relative in Australia, which is in Zone 1, will see their call costs rise from 6p per minute to 8p per minute.
However, if you are one of those affected the price hikes, there are easy ways to minimise the damage.
How to cut the call costs
One of the most straightforward ways, and certainly one of the cheapest – it’s free – is to dial an access code before you call an international or mobile number from your landline.
These numbers are available from a host of websites, such as CheapCalls.co.uk, and by simply entering an access code before you dial the number you’re calling means you can cut international call costs to as little as 0.5p per minute and make cheap calls to mobiles from just 3p per minute.
There is no registration involved, no payment details taken and all calls are billed as normal from your current provider.
Another way to cut costs is to simply switch provider and, if you are a subscription television and broadband customer, tie your landline costs in with a television and broadband package as this often works out more cost effective.
However, as with most things, where one leads, the rest follow, so it may only be a matter of time before there are more price hikes across the board.