Telephone line rental
Home telephone lines are known as landlines and can be rented from a supplier for a small monthly charge.
British Telecom was privatised in the 1980s, and began offering line rental on a wholesale basis, thus allowing other providers to use the BT phone line network. However many people still pay their line rental to BT every 3 months or so, unaware that they could be getting this line rental for free - or at least heavily discounted from other providers.
You can have any combination of your calls and/or line rental with a company other than BT and, although probably not the most cost effective solution, it is possible to have your line rental with one company, your calls with another and your Broadband with another.
It practice though you will probably find that you will get the best deal if you sign up with one company to provide all three services.
To complicate the issue, with the onset of digital TV, the telephone and broadband packages of the major companies have been extended to include various TV packages.
Telephone line rental options
There are two home phone line rental options:
Home phone tariffs
With a home phone line, you can choose between different calling plans and tariffs. Each supplier has its own range of plans but they generally fall into four types of tariff:
Check with your supplier the detail of each tariff they offer with particular reference to what is and isn't include in free calls, including "08" numbers and calls to mobile phones. Some anytime calling tariffs may include discounted rates for calls to mobile phones. Also consider what time of the day or week you make most of your calls, particularly if you are at work all day during the week. If you make a lot of international calls you can reduce the cost by using a secondary supplier that offers the cheapest call rates for the country you dial most often.
Choosing a home phone provider
A complete guide to what options are available and how to choose a home phone provider ae aailable a the fllowing links:
Mobile phone providers
The majority of people own a mobile phone and there are a multitude of handsets and tariffs offered by the mobile service providers.
There are four major UK mobile network suppliers:
There are other networks with different names but they all use one of the major networks.
Check your signal by entering your postcode to using Ofcom's Mobile Coverage Checker.
Guides to what options are available and how to choose a mobile phone provider are available at the following lins:
Using your mobile abroad
A guide to using your mobile phone abroad is available from Ofcom.
Stolen or lost handsets
Immobilise is a website supported by the Home Office dedicated to registering mobile phone details. You can register your mobile phone for free on the Immobilise website. This means the police are more likely to be able to return your phone to you if it’s lost or stolen. (You will need your IMEI number.)
If your handset is stole or lost:
A detailed guide "What to do if your mobile phone is lost or stolen" is available fron Citizens Advice.
Broadband and Internet
The majority of UK homes are connected in some way to the internet
This can be by using:
"Superfast" broadband is a new type of broadband that is currently being deployed in the UK by BT, Virgin Media and other operators. Fibre optic broadband works by sending information as pulses of light through individual optical fibres and gives much faster connection speeds than the traditional BT landline, which transmits down copper wires.
Cable broadband utilises fibre optic technology as does BT Infinity which is becoming available in selected areas of the uK.
For a detailed guide to broadband and options follow this link.
Check your broadband availability by entering your postcode using Ofcom's Broadband Coverage Checker.
Help to choose an internet provider can be found at the following links:
A current list of Top 10 Broadband Packages is availble from uSwitch.
Mobile broadband enables you to using the internet in the same way as home broadband, but through a mobile network. The advantage of using a mobile phone network is, unlike your home broadband, your internet connection moves with you.
Currently there are three options for accessing the internet on the move and cater for your mobile internet access needs:
The SIM card and Dongle option allow access to the internet for a single device whereas the pocket sized MIFI unit can handle access for multiple Wi-Fi devices, (up to 20 depending on the model).
The volume of internet traffic is limited by your mobile data plan but "unlinited data" plans are available from major mobile providers.
A complete guide to using mobile internet is availabkle at this link.
All TV services in the UK are digital. There are many of options on offer for receiving digital TV and which is the right one for you will depend on how many channels you want to watch and how much you want to spend.
For a complete guide what options are available and how to choose a TV provider, follow this link.
A guide to the best TV packages is available from uSwitch.
Home phone bundles
Several suppliers offer "digital bundles" where other services, such as broadband and digital TV, are packaged in with home phone for one set monthly fee. This is not only convenient in having to only deal with one supplier but also cost effective because suppliers offer savings to encourage you to stay with them for longer. Sometimes introductory offers such as free installation, discounted fees for the first few months and cash back are also on offer.
Things to consider when choosing a bundle are:
For a complete guide what options are available and how to choose a digital bundle, follow this link.
MoneyHelper provide a guide to making sure you are getting the best deal on your telephone and broadband available at this link.
Ofcom approved Price Comparison sites
The Office of Communication, commonly known as Ofcom, is the Independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries.
The Ofcom price accreditation scheme logo is awarded to websites that have had their price comparison services put through a rigorous independent audit.
Click on the appropriate links below for approved comparison web-sites:
Landline, digital TV and broadband services:
A guide "How to get cheaper TV packages" is available from StepChangeMoneyAware.
Problem with your phone, TV, mobile or broadband service?
For a guide to your rights and how the law protects you and ensures you are not treated unfairly by a company including how to sort out billing problems, follow this link.
For information on how to make a complaint about a service, click here.
For information on how to make a complaint about a TV, radio or on demand program, click here.
For information on how to make a complaint about any other issue including:
follow this link.
Nuisance and Threatening Calls, Parental Controls and Other Issues
For a range of downloadable guides including how to handle nuisance calls and messages, how to handle abusive and threatening calls and parental control for mobile phones, follow this link.
Offensive internet sites
There is no central body that monitors or approves content or activity on the internet before it goes online. This means that some content may be against the law or it may upset people or cause other problems.
Compehensive information and guides, including reporting inappropriate material and parental controls, can be found at:
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