How to get cheaper phone calls
1. Shop around
Compare the cost of different home phone packages with price comparison websites like uswitch.com and homephonechoices.com – they will even handle your switchover to a new company.
Also check if you're paying for a tariff that you don't need. If you work during the day, then an off-peak tariff with free minutes in the evening and weekend is ideal.
2. Change your payment method
You can also reduce your bill by paying by direct debit and opting for paperless bills. Virgin Media charges £5 if you don't pay by direct debit while BT charges an additional £1.50, and £1.25 a month if you don't sign up to paperless billing.
3. Avoid premium-rate numbers
0845, 0870, 0871 and similar numbers used to be notorious for their premium-rate prices.
Although prices have come down and these numbers now cost in the region of 5p to 10p a minute, website saynoto0870.com estimates that using a local alternative can cost you as little as 4p, with no time limit.
4. Get the best package for you
Calls to mobile phones from landlines are not generally included in phone packages and cost more than standard landline calls. So if you frequently phone mobiles from your landline, it may be worth getting a call plan add-on.
For example, the add-on from Virgin Media costs £1.50 a month. It reduces the cost of calling any mobile network to 11.25p a minute during the day and 7.5p a minute in the evening, compared with between 17.37p and 29.63p a minute.
5. Remove add-ons
Consider if you really need to pay for certain features: 'call barring' and 'call divert', for example, will cost you extra – but they can be removed from phone packages. Also bear in mind the huge differences in the price the various providers charge for these services.
For example, BT charges £4 a month for its 'anonymous caller reject', compared with Primus Saver's 56p a month.