Virgin Media has announced a new tier of line rental on its network: Talk Protected, a special series of plans that give discounts to elderly and disabled customers, with prices frozen for the foreseeable future.
The tier is available just for those who subscribe to a home phone package on its own - not customers who also get broadband or TV from the provider.
Packages on Talk Protected are:
- Phone line only (pay as you go calls) - £17.99 per month
- Phone line + Talk More Evenings and Weekends - £17.99 per month
- Phone line + Talk More Anytime - £22 per month
- Phone line + Talk International Anytime - £29 per month
Each one also includes calls to 0845, 0870, and 118 numbers; paper billing at no extra cost; caller display; voicemail; and flexible payment options.
You're eligible for the costs if you're over 65, have limited mobility, have limited speech and language, have limited dexterity, have cognitive or learning disabilities, are blind or poor-sighted, or are deaf or hard of hearing.
It's not totally clear how long those prices will be frozen for, but Virgin Media does promise, rather vaguely, "no future rises".
Gregor McNeil, Virgin Media's managing director of consumer, said: "For some people their landline is their lifeline - it's important that those who rely on this service the most are not left behind… By freezing line rental charges and price changes through Talk Protected, we're ensuring these customers receive even better value from us and get the service they rely on."
The freeze has come at a rather opportune time, as earlier this week Ofcom announced a major review into landline costs - in particular, looking at whether they're fair on the elderly and vulnerable.
We can't know for sure whether the launch of Talk Protected has anything to do with Ofcom, but it does signal that perhaps more home phone providers will follow suit.
Existing eligible customers will be contacted and automatically upgraded to the better price tier in January 2017 - though if you think you qualify and don't get the call, contact Virgin Media customer services.
Source: Virgin Media