Price research by broadbandchoices reveals that steadily increasing line rental charges in the UK have been masked by falling prices for broadband services. In 2009 the average monthly charge for landline rental was £11.14. Today that figure stands at £16.61 - an increase of 49%. That’s way above the rate of inflation of 16.39% over the same period.
In comparison, charges for a broadband connection have fallen steadily over the past few years. The average cost five years ago was £9.05; it's now £3.76 - a decrease of 58%.
The increase in landline rental charges has caused many customers to consider whether they still need a landline coming into their property. With advances in communications technology, many consumers see no reason for a landline if they possess a smartphone, using that instead of the home phone.
This decrease in the use of the home telephone and the subsequent drop in revenue from charges for outbound calls may well be the reason the landline rental charges have continued to increase.
The impact of these price changes has led to frustration amongst customers who wonder why they're still paying line rental - particularly when they rarely use their landline phone but still see regular line rental price rises.
Of course, the main reason most consumers can't stop paying for a landline is because they need it to obtain access to a broadband service, with the great majority still having to rely on the copper wires from their local telephone exchange to provide the means to receive it.
broadbandchoices telecoms expert, Dominic Baliszewski, stated: "Broadband providers have fought tooth and nail for customers in recent years, resulting in much cheaper broadband packages with all sorts of perks and extras, so it's a shame to see line rental dragging prices back to 2009 levels. Essentially, households are paying almost £200 a year for something theydon'twant - just so they can get something theydowant…
"Our own research has shown that sentiment towards line rental charges is at an all-time low, with 37% of households admitting they would get rid of their landline altogether if they could and 1 in 10 admitting they don't even have their home phone plugged in."
The cost of line rental over twelve months adds up to a noticeable part of a family's budget. With many customers now purchasing "bundles" that include television, broadband and telephone, more transparency is needed in pricing. There are some very good offers available but consumers need to compare them carefully to ensure they are getting the best possible deal.