Updated: Friday 13 January, 2012
By Anthony Hill - firstname.lastname@example.org
If youíve never switched home phone provider, now is the perfect time - you could save loads by signing up for paperless bills and paying by monthly direct debit.
These days you donít have to take your home telephone line from BT (www.bt.com) - there are plenty of alternatives available, such as Primus (www.primussaver.co.uk), which currently offers the cheapest line rental exclusively through Homephonechoices.co.uk.
Take a look at the table to compare some of the UKís cheapest landline deals:
Whatever option youíre considering for your landline and line rental, you should check that your call charges will be lower under your new provider, too. Compare line rental charges for the best deals.
You donít have to stay with BT, you can get line rental - as well as a call service - from other suppliers such as TalkTalk (www.talktalk.co.uk), Orange (www.orange.co.uk) and Primus (www.primussaver.co.uk). As a result many suppliers have since lowered their line rental charges, so your bill may come down too.
Even if you get your line rental from a company other than BT, in most instances you can keep your existing phone number and you wonít need an engineer to visit.
If you get your home phone via a cable landline from Virgin Media (www.virginmedia.com), you wonít be paying BT as you wonít be using its copper wire network. Virgin Media has its own network of fibre optic cables laid across Britain. If you don't have a cable connection at your house though, you will need to get one set-up. Virgin Mediaís services are available to roughly half the UK.
Apart from Virgin Media, all phone line providers use BT copper wire (ADSL) lines. Though itís called a BT phone line, it doesnít necessarily have to be with BT - recent years have seen a host of competitor companies spring up in the home phone market, many of which offer cheaper line rental, more competitive call charges and sometimes even a free phone line installation.
Several companies now offer free calls - within a monthly package - if you sign a contract for their line rental. Primus offers one of the cheapest deals at 9.49 a month, which includes free calls in the evenings and at weekends to UK local and national landlines.
With many companies, you can make further savings by bundling your broadband and home phone services.
TalkTalk (www.talktalk.co.uk) offer great bundle plans which include broadband, free evening and weekend calls and line rental, or broadband, anytime calls plus line rental.
Look at your complete range of options using our home phone price comparison service.
Many people have landlines in order to get broadband - itís not currently possible to get broadband-only packages unless you have cable. In the US however, you can purchase pure broadband without a home phone connection. This is known as ďnaked ADSL.Ē
Communications regulator Ofcom allows suppliers to choose whether or not they want to offer this service and as yet in the UK, none do. However, naked ADSL could have a massive impact on the future of line rental.
There has also been a rise in mobile broadband recently, which is totally separate from your home telephone line. Orange (www.orange.co.uk), Three, O2 and others offer mobile broadband on a contract and pay-as-you-go basis. To find out more read our guide to mobile broadband.
You shouldnít switch to a new home phone provider just because they have cheaper line rental as the most you will save is around £5 a month. However, combined with the cheaper call charges offered by many companies, there are plenty of decent savings to be made.
Check out our best buy tables for a quick idea of who offers the most competitive home phone prices.
Also, if you donít already pay by direct debit and are able to, you should definitely do so, as this can save you as much as £5 a month with some suppliers. Find out if your provider offers paperless billing too, as itís good for the environment and will usually earn you a discount.
Think about the kind of calls that you make, how long they are and where theyíre to. If you only have a phone line for your broadband connection then maybe moving to Virgin Media would be a good idea - they also offer free digital TV with some phone packages.
If on the other hand you make daily calls abroad, then one option is to go for a provider who offers cheap line rental and low international rates such as the Post Office (www.postoffice.co.uk). You should also look into making international calls over the internet - this is known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
Keeping your needs in mind and thinking about the way that you use your telephone is the best way to guarantee that you get the best value deal.