Landline rental costs rocket by 29% in just three years

20th November 2014

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Just as Virgin Media confirmed it is hiking the price of monthly home phone rental by an inflation busting 6.25%, new research claims the cost of a landline has increased by more than a quarter since 2011.

In fact, the analysis by comparison site uSwitch.com concluded that the cost has risen by no less than 29%.

The figure takes into account the latest price hikes announced by the big four providers, BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, all of which will increase their prices from 1 December – apart from Virgin Media whose customers will see their increase come later, on 1 February next year.

As a result, of the rises, monthly line rental costs will exceed the £16 mark for the first time and the latest wave of price hikes will increase home phone costs by an average of 6% – 4.7% above the current rate of inflation.

This means consumers will now pay an extra £42 per year on average for line rental, compared to 2011.

Commenting on the price hikes, Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, said: “Rising landline costs are an industry-wide problem that’s getting worse, year after year. Our landlines are, in most cases, a requirement for home broadband, so many of us have little choice but to pay the increase. And it’s all the more irritating when our hardly-used home phones are sitting there, gathering dust.”

Of the four main providers, BT and Virgin Media are demanding an increase of 6.25%, which will bring the cost of their line rental to £16.99 a month, 14% higher than the current average monthly cost of a landline, which is £14.93.

Last month, TalkTalk announced that it was increasing prices by 4.7%, making it the second most expensive but Sky made the biggest overall increase at 6.49% – but is still the cheapest of the big four.

While customers out of contract can leave penalty free at any time, those consumers who are mid-contract generally have 30 days to contact their provider once they are informed of the price rise, should they want to terminate their contract.

Existing line rental costs across the four main providers, and how these will change following the price rises:

Landline price rises for customers paying by monthly direct debit
Provider Existing cost per month New cost per month Increase Percentage increase When?
BT £15.99 £16.99 +£1.00  6.25% 1st December 2014
Sky £15.40 £16.40 +£1.00  6.49% 1st December 2014
TalkTalk £15.95 £16.70 +£0.75  4.70% 1st December 2014
Virgin Media £15.99 £16.99 +£1.00  6.25% 1st February 2015

Source: uSwitch.com, data correct on 19/11/14

Taylor-Gibson added: “While providers are working hard to keep services such as broadband as competitive as possible, we are seeing additional costs creep into other areas. The price hikes especially affect those who tend to be less regular home internet users, such as the older generation, who are forced to swallow the higher cost without seeing any of the benefits.

“If you only use a landline, and aren’t interested in a combined broadband and home phone package, there are some good discounts to be had. Paying annually can help to reduce the cost of your home phone by more than £80 a year if you are willing to switch provider.”

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