With the upcoming BT price increases spurring me on, I've been on a drive to cut my BT Retail voice bill. My broadband is through Zen, who I'm happy with - I know there are cheaper providers, but Zen are a good fit to my needs.
I have two lines on one residential account, and need to keep both lines. I'm on the Anytime plan, which I'm happy with, not least as one plan covers both lines.
The first step was to stop making as many chargeable calls as possible on BT. I already used spare mobile minutes to call mobiles, as BT is expensive for these calls. The majority of my call charges were calls to landlines that ran over an hour. I tried my best to use a timer telling me when to redial, but it's easy to forget and the charges for running over the hour soon rack up.
I tend to buy mobile phones outright and use them in connection with a SIM only contract. My Vodafone SIM only was long out of its minimum contract period, so I was able to take the latest 12 month SIM only deal at the same £20.50 monthly charge I was paying previously. My new Vodafone price plan is a 'Red' plan with unlimited calls to 01/02/03 and mobiles, which does not require redialling after an hour - I've made a five hour long call to a landline which was charged at zero. A bonus of taking a new price plan was getting a 10% student discount on this price plan for as long as I keep the plan, because I'm an Open University student. I've finished up paying Vodafone less for a lot more than before. I'm making the majority of my voice calls via Vodafone now - though I know to avoid making 08 calls on Vodafone as they are very expensive.
O2 offer a similar plan at £20 per month, though I wanted to stay with Vodafone and I couldn't get a student discount with O2. I haven't checked whether the O2 plan has any limits on call length.
The next step was to ditch most of the calling features I had. The charges for these have gradually moved from annoying to obscene, considering that most of them cost next to nothing to provide and are provided free of charge on contract mobiles. As BT's revenue for inland calls has dwindled, they've moved to charging as much as they dare for features that you have to take from your landline provider.
I've kept both lines on BT Privacy at Home with Caller Display, as Caller Display is vital for me and I have no problem making the low number of calls needed on each line to keep this free of charge.
The only paid calling feature I have is Call Diversion on my line - I divert on no answer and when busy to the 03 number of my Hullomail box, giving me converged visual voicemail on my mobile. There's no call charges for these diverted calls, as they fall within the Anytime plan.
The final step is switching to Line Rental Saver, which I have yet to do - I needed to let the orders ditching the calling features complete before I could place the order for Line Rental Saver.
I know this involves paying 12 months line rental in advance by credit or debit card. When I spoke to a BT agent on 0800 800 150 last week, she claimed that I could only put one of my two lines onto Line Rental Saver. I can see no such restriction in Section 55 Part 20 Subpart 1 of the BT Price List, the contractual definition of Line Rental Saver.
Does anyone know the true position regarding multiple lines on one account and Line Rental Saver?
Once I've sorted out Line Rental Saver, I don't believe there's anything else I can do to cut my BT Retail bill - unless anyone knows otherwise. I'm not much interested in using indirect operators - I don't make international phone calls and you can't use an indirect operator with Call Diversion. I don't therefore believe that an indirect operator could save me money.
I hope this post acts as a helpful reminder to check your bills and consider your alternatives for making phone calls. So many utility bills are going up, but it is possible for many people to reduce their phone bill.