Line rental prices up 38% (but 1 in 10 homes have the phone unplugged)

ByAnthony Hill
Line rental

In the last five years, the cost of phone lines has rocketed by more than a third - adding £50 a year to the average bill - despite record numbers ditching the home phone for good and only needing a landline for broadband…

People in Britain are being forced to pay more for their landline than ever, despite many of us rarely - if ever - using the phone, according to research by broadbandchoices.co.uk.

 

Our survey of 2,000 bill payers found 37% would get rid of their phone line if they didn't need it to have it for broadband. As mobile phones now dominate, only 22% regularly make calls from the landline. One in 10 don't even have a home phone plugged in!

 

This may help explain why a third of people told us line rental offers shoddy value for money, and why 20% said they reckon it's simply an excuse for providers to charge more.

 

Line rental prices are now on average £15.35 a month, compared to just £11.14 less than five years ago. We've done the maths and found it's a whopping 38% increase, three times the rate of inflation - adding £50 a year to the cost of having a phone line.

 

Provider August 2009 March 2014 Price change
AOL £11.25 £14.80 +32%
BT £11.25 £15.99 +42%
Plusnet £11.07 £14.50 +31%
Sky £11.00 £15.40 +40%
TalkTalk £11.25 £15.40 +37%
Virgin Media £11.02 £15.99 +45%
Average £11.14 £15.35 +38%

 

Dominic Baliszewski, one of our experts, said: "Most of us are accustomed to price rises, but line rental is really suffering from an image crisis at the moment. People are quite rightly questioning why they're being asked for more money time and time again.

 

"The situation isn't helped when the status quo for providers is to charge one price for line rental and a separate additional fee for broadband on top. This gives the impression line rental is only for home phone, when in fact it's essential for most people's broadband."

 

Broadband without a landline would seem the ideal scenario for many, when in reality - at least in the majority of cases - you can't get home broadband unless you have an active phone line.

 

Some good news is that even cheaper line rental will normally include some free phone calls, and although the price of keeping a phone line has rocketed, the average cost of broadband and phone deals has actually dropped by more than half in recent years.

 

If you're adamant you want rid of your landline, the simplest solution for many is to switch to a broadband service like Virgin Media that doesn't actually need one.

 

Click here for more on broadband without a phone line

 

Are line rental prices out of control? Have your say in the comments section below.

 

Stay up to date with the latest news: Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Google+

 

How would you rate broadbandchoices? Help us improve by writing a review