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ISP BT Hits UK Landline Customers with Call Plan Price Hike UPDATED

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020 (8:24 am) - Score 9,490
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Broadband ISP BT has begun emailing around 1.3 million existing customers of their landline phone service in order to inform them that they’re being moved to the operator’s new “Unlimited Minutes” call plan from 1st September 2020, which often comes at an extra cost (this varies depending upon your existing legacy plan).

At present the feedback we’ve received from BT’s customers has been very confusing, largely because so many of them have different legacy call plans and that makes understanding the impact rather more difficult than usual. Nevertheless, it seems as if most of those being contacted were previously on a call plan (unlimited or otherwise) that didn’t include calls to mobile phones.

By comparison the new Unlimited Minutes plan adds inclusive calls to UK mobiles, removes a setup fee and we believe that the old 60 minute limit for included calls has also been removed (i.e. where you had to hang-up and redial after an hour in order to avoid a call charge).

Customers affected by this change are likely to currently be paying from £10.50 inc. VAT per month for their existing unlimited calling plan (excluding the usual £20.20 line rental charge as we’re only talking about call plans) and many are being advised that the new change will thus attract a price increase of up to £4.50 extra per month (as we say, this varies depending upon the legacy plan taken).

NOTE: Separate to this news we should point out that BT gives a discount of £8 per month on line rental to residential households without fixed line broadband from any provider (i.e. landline-only customers).

Obviously the price increase for some may be mitigated if you happen to make a bunch of mobile calls from your landline (i.e. you’d be getting more for your money), but these days not many people do that via their landline and so some will still view this purely as a price hike. As a result BT’s Community Forum does contain a number of gripes (see below for a couple of quick examples).

Sample Customer Complaint 1

“It’s clearly just a rip off way to structure their products to maximise their profits. Anyway from now on I’ll use my free mobile minutes and I’ve cancelled the unlimited anytime plan I had.

Judging from the calling que a lot of people aren’t happy about being charged extra for something they were doing very well without just so BT can wrench more money out of their pockets.”

Sample Customer Complaint 2

“I agree this seem to be a big price increase from £10 to £14.50 and the need opt out or be automatically tied into a new contract by default seem to be a poor customer policy, when you can get the same package from Plusnet for £9 a month all in. Will be looking at my contract closely when it expires late August.”

BT’s email finished with: “We hope you’ll be happy with this change, but if you want to leave, you’ll need to call us by 31st August 2020 to avoid paying a charge for leaving early.” Customers who don’t wish to accept the change can choose to leave penalty free (note: call plans only attract a rolling 30 day term) or pick from one of BT’s alternative plans, which can be found in their latest BT Consumer Price Guide.

We’ve also pasted the relevant plans below (ignore the 500 option as that has been removed). Alternatively, you could try haggling with the operator for a better price. Credits to MSE for spotting this development.

bt_calling_plans_2020

UPDATE 10:05am

BT informs that the majority of the 1.3 million customers affected are dual, broadband and landline customers (i.e. not all solus landline as originally thought). The impact on customers is +£4.50 on fixed monthly cost, as mentioned above, but only +£1.83 on average net of usage.

A BT Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“The new calling plans will give customers more simplicity and flexibility over the calls they make. Fully inclusive packages provide customers with financial peace of mind that doesn’t limit their need to stay connected to family and friends. If a customer is unhappy with the new package, we have other options available to replace their outdated plan, such as our Limited Minutes Plan, which includes 700 minutes to call UK mobile and landline numbers for a total of £7 a month or they can opt out for no cost.”

Leave a Comment
26 Responses
  1. Avatar Sunil Sood says:

    Its not just BT customers who have a landline only. A relative of mine has FTTC with them and also got an email

  2. Avatar GaryW says:

    It’s hard to see why most people would bother with any calling plans on their landline anyway. We’re not unique in being a household where everyone has unlimited calls on their mobile, so we only have a BT landline for the house alarm (mainly) and so people can call us (less so) – use 4G for broadband because we’re rural but near a mast. Seems crazy to pay for yet another calling plan.

    1. Avatar Burble says:

      To make a mobile call from home, on a good day I have to lean out the window, on a bad day I have to drive a mile down the road, this applies to most people in our village, irritates the hell out of Openreach engineers who have to use mobiles for line checks.
      We have tried getting BiL to use a mobile with no luck, all he will use is a landline.

    2. Avatar tech3475 says:

      In my case the primary reason I need a landline is because others in the house demand we have one, they say it’s because they simply don’t like using their mobiles for extended calls.

      Personally I would be able to live without it, having done so in the past, although admittedly occasionally it does come in handy e.g. poor signal.

    3. Avatar Leex says:

      Get an iPhone or Samsung phone made in last 4-5 years on EE (must be contract sim not PAYG, sim only 1 month or 12 months will do) as they have full 4g calling support on all 4g bands and WiFi calling I generally recommend EE (recommended ee branded Samsung phone or unbranded samsung phone or any iPhone in last 5 years)

      BT mobile might get 4g calling and WiFi calling as seen one samsung phone with it Woking (and that Samsung phone wasn’t the EU F version)

      don’t get a nvmo provider like talktalk, sky mobile as they can’t use 4g to make and receive calls and don’t support WiFi calling at all

      Make sure you turn on WiFi calling in the settings (on samsung when signal is low it uses WiFi calling automatically , iPhone uses it no matter what the signal quality is) Samsung and iPhone support in call automatic switching between WiFi calling and 4g calling or back to WiFi calling (90% of the time it’s successful) I prefer samsung way as it only uses WiFi calling when mobile signal is at or below 1 bar

      ,
      if your with o2 or Vodafone the phone must have Vodafone branded rom (If K. Vodafone) or O2 branded rom (if on O2) , if not 4g calling and WiFi calling Likey won’t work as o2 and Vodafone tend to only allow 4g calling and WiFi calling on branded phone (same applies to 3 as well)

      4g calling is hit or miss on Vodafone, o2 unless you have a supported iPhone (as Vodafone and O2 refuse to enable 4g calling on old iPhone that work perfectly fine on 4g calling)

      3 is especially a problem as they refuse to enable 4g calling on all 4g bands (only works on 4g800)

  3. Avatar John H says:

    Trying to kill off their own cash cow. Greedy as always.

  4. Avatar Michael V says:

    As customer complaint number 1 stated, people will be pushed to use their mobile phones more. There’s plenty of SIM offers under £10 that customers could switch to.

    This is the biggest price increase I’ve seen at ‘up to £4.50.’

  5. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

    Maybe its because they’ll have to start ripping out Huawei kit very soon, so need a way to pay for it?

  6. Avatar Sunil Sood says:

    I had thought that Ofcom/regulators were not keen on automatically imposed price rises that were opt out not opt in.

    1. Avatar Michael V says:

      But it said in the statement that customers can leave if they want.
      That’s generally the only option other than changing plan.

      My mother is with vodafone home fibre. We chose that as the Superfast plan was £21 p/m with no line rental or phone plan charge. [if we were to use the home phone it would be a charge per min]
      With plan / line rental plans going up as much as this post states, maybe it’s worth looking at providers that offer just broadband with no phone charges.

  7. Avatar Alec Broughton says:

    I’m curious to know if somebody decided to leave their landline contract early due to this change… BUT, also had a broadband service over the same line… would this also invalidate the broadband contract so you can cancel it penalty free as well?

  8. Avatar Simon Higgins says:

    Cheapest way – use your own mobile unlimited calls
    BT Line Rental MUST GO!

    1. Avatar Leex says:

      Not everyone owns a ee contract and ee phone to support 4g calling and WiFi calling (to cover no signal in house)

  9. Avatar Ray Woodward says:

    One waits now for the other shoe to drop – when the others announce their increases….

  10. Avatar Pezza says:

    And this is what you get for all those pathetic protestors stopping new new wireless masts being installed, people still need landlines and have to pay the cost for it.
    That’s one steep increase though I have to say.

  11. Avatar alan says:

    My elderly mother-inlaw never makes any mobile calls, she is ony just capable of dialling our local land line number.
    So this hike gives her no extra benefits

    1. Avatar Meadmodj says:

      There is not much you can do if you are in remote rural or blackspot without 4G or dependent on a line based alarm.

      If the person does not have broadband and is dependent on BT then it is a matter of choosing the correct plan. These are BT’s standard pricing and there is a discount for telephone only. Those on benefits should look at BT Basic and all others at Home Phone Saver 2020 for comparison.

      Those with mobile signal can either use a GSM phone (3G) or buy a box to a tethered phone. As highlighted there are many low data SIM packages now with unlimited calls. Better still if data will be of use (Amazon Echo/Show, tablet with Skype etc) then a 4G router with VoLTE such as the Tenda 4G680 or certain Huawei routers (e.g 315) would provide a cheaper telephony and data option. The downside is that without spending more money you can’t divert the landline number and the unfamiliar telephone tones will need to be explained but the upside is using their familiar corded telephone. THREE do some cheap SIM options and EE allow you to donate data (from your phone) to one of there low data SIMS.

      Many other options and broadband hybrids available (BT, Virgin and others) which allow incoming calls on a landline number and outgoing calls on VoLTE (SIM) or VoIP (third party) to get the best for the cost for the use pattern.

  12. Avatar Stuart Leech says:

    BT like always greedy and uncaring about its customers just after more profit they should be ashamed of this hike in price. For elderly people who only use the old unlimited plan for land line calls and not mobile numbers this is a real kick in the teeth shame on you BT

  13. Avatar Adam Jarvis says:

    I’d love to meet the two people that managed to get their BT line rental reduced to £11.99 in April 2008 (Note, the small print: it only applies for three years till April 2021 too) given all the hype and promotion it got by (self-congratulating) narcissistic Ofcom.

    In the end, it only applied to customers with just a landline with no broadband (and most of those are elderly entitled to a discounted line anyhow). i.e.didn’t apply to customer with bundled Broadband/Landline deals.

    Ofcom, talk about an utter waste of space, for the amount it was hyped.

    Mark, any chance you can find out the numbers that actually took up this £11.99 offer and still have it, if in fact it was more than two? Ofcom must have the figures, given it was their little baby.

    1. Avatar Adam Jarvis says:

      typo: April 2018, not April 2008.

  14. Avatar Tony D says:

    Inhave both BT broadband and the phone package and have been told of the £4.50 rise for the compulsory closing of my 9ld account and opening of the new package. Although it does give me an option of switching to the 700 plan it does bot mention anywhere about cancelling my contract myself free of charge. The wording about their call centres being very busy and pointing you on line is basically saying Dont Call Us! So they change the contracts that they know must generate a large number of customer contacts to them at a time they cannot manage the calls, brilliant. I certainly will be cancelling my anytime plan.

  15. Avatar Janice says:

    If I switch to the 700 plan is this a new contract? How long does it last? I am out of contract at present. Does it affect my existing broadband if I switch.
    There is no mention of contract length in the email and I don’t want to commit to additional cancellation costs.
    (I am moving house shortly but have no idea when that might be because of the coronavirus restrictions on building)
    I have spent ages on the phone with the BT message being repeated 3 times a minute instead of “soothing” music and have only discovered on this forum that the 500 minute plan is no longer available. It is still listed on the BT Tariff list as shown above.

  16. Avatar Dave says:

    BT stands for British Tramps.

    Why are people surprised?

    BT do a yearly price hike despite the billions in tax payers money and Tax breaks given to them.

  17. Avatar Jackie says:

    I am not happy having to pay an additional £4.50 for Unlimited calls. Already paying over £10 a month for the unlimited calls. So I’ve gone onto the 700 minutes free calls plan (as BT advisor stated that would be well within what I’m using a month). HOWEVER, if you change your Unlimited Plan to 700, I have been advised that I have to change my BROADBAND plan and it’s now a Halo 1 fibre plan. I got a £3 saving on what I’m currently paying, but am now signed up for another 2 years!

    1. Avatar Joe Pineapples says:

      In the same boat so thanks for the heads-up on the sneaky contract renewal. Now thinking I’d be better off cancelling my bt anytime plan and getting unlimited calls from my mobile with ‘three’ instead @£8pm

  18. Avatar David White says:

    Reassuring that I am not alone in the price hike saga. My extra call charges over and above my monthly anytime contract was £3 in one quarter. Now BT want me to pay £4.50 per month extra.
    It’s disgraceful. I hardly use the landline so will be going over to 700 minutes. Greedy like most multi national companies.

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