|UK Telecom Tariff Cost Comparisons|
Tariffs Version 306
Site Last Updated:
Business Members Site
Residential Members Site
Numbering Members Site
Database Members Site
What's New This Month
November 2023 Changes
Comparisons of 53 residential and 38 business land line and VoIP/SIP telephone tariff call costs, and 327 residential and 179 business call and broadband plans charged by 53 different telecommunications operators and resellers in the United Kingdom, compiled by Magenta Systems Ltd, including direct and indirect access, CPS, VoIP and call through (two stage dialling) schemes. The comparison lists the cheapest telephone calls for both business and residential users using land lines, including bundled broadband packages.
Please note that Magenta Systems Ltd does not sell or recommend any of these tariffs, you need to contact each company specifically. Magenta Systems simply publishes this price information for comparison purposes. Nor do we take any money from these companies to list their information, it is totally impartial. Sorry, but we can not provide advice about the best tariffs for any individual or company, you must compare the prices and make your own choices.
Multiple tariff costs are shown for some operators, for others discounted tariff costs are calculated. The spreadsheet version allows the discount costs to be changed for differing spend levels. The level of detail varies between operators, some supply everything, others just the more common tariff costs. The comparison is updated at least 11 times a year, with operator tariffs being checked every three to six months, the better operators inform us of changes monthly, as they happen. Residential prices all include VAT at 20%, unless otherwise stated.
Non-Members may view the residential tariffs as web pages, but to download them in spreadsheet format or access the various code tables you need to become a paid member. The business pages look identical to the residential pages, they simply contain different companies and figures.
Access to the Business Members Site and Residential Members Site requires a logon name and password, which is emailed once the Membership Form on the secure server has been completed and payment received. Details of information available to Members and the prices is available in the Site Overview. Business members may view and print the tariffs, numbering and operator information from an Acrobat (PDF) file.
State of the Industry attempts to give an overview of recent changes, which operators are being taken over, which have ceased offering services and those in financial difficulty.
BT Openreach started closing down the existing analogue voice and ISDN Public Switched Telephone Network on 1st December 2020, by stopping selling new PSTN and ISDN lines and stopping line transfers in Salisbury, with existing services ceasing from October 2023. All existing master line sockets will then cease to work, and telephones and extension wiring will instead need to plugged into a broadband router or VoIP line adaptor to receive digital voice telephone service over the internet.
From September 2023, it is no longer possible to order new BT PSTN or ISDN lines anywhere in the UK where full fibre is available using FTTP or SOG.Fast. There is no change for the 20 million properties without full fibre, until it becomes available in their area. In December 2025, all PSTN and ISDN services will start close down, probably over six months, and all telephony will be VoIP or Digital Phone over broadband. For those properties still without full fibre in 2026, this will be using the slower and less reliable part-fibre SOGEA and SOADSL services. For those that only need telephone and not broadband, a 500Kb fibre service will be available.
From the BT Wholesale 'Product stop sells and FTTP exchange upgrades' document:
For the last few years, some broadband suppliers like Sky have no longer provided analogue voice with new contracts but VoIP or digital voice only. WBC SOGEA (Single Order Generic Ethernet Access) is the wholesale name for part fibre FTTC/VDSL without analogue voice for speeds up to 80Mb, then SOG.Fast for 160 and 330Mb speeds. If a supplier offers WBC SOGEA, it means no analogue voice, only VoIP or digital voice.
Some suppliers will provide FTTP broadband alone without any VoIP or digital voice, but many such as BT automatically migrate your analogue voice number to VoIP, even if you already have an alternate VoIP service. If you are switching broadband contracts and don't want interruption of your existing analogue voice service, check with the new provider that it will not be replaced by VoIP.
VoIP service is much cheaper to supply than the old PSTN/ISDN that needed about 5,500 telephone exchange buildings, and technically is very similar to free services such as Skype and WhatsApp. Unfortunately this low cost is rarely reflected in lower line rental cost, which due to Ofcom decisions is now invisibly included with your broadband cost, nor in reduced call costs. One well known VoIP provider has charged about Â£1.20/month for a number with inland calls at 1.5p/min for over 10 years, yet BT and Sky are charging 10 times that for their VoIP services.
BT plans to exit 4,500 buildings by the mid 2030s since the replacement full fibre service can be terminated at much greater distances that copper cable, needing only about 1,000 remaining buildings around the country. 103 buildings will be closed up to December 2030, but this mainly effects the industry with leased fibre lines that will need to move to alternate remaining buildings. Most BT buildings are owned by TT Group and have a contract break in December 2031, so there is urgency to reduce rent. Trials of exit exchange start in March 2024 when the Deddinton exchange will close, followed by Kenton Road and Ballclare exchanges in September 2024, all these exchanges are full fibre already. Openreach estimates it will take four to seven years to exit exchanges, with the first three years stop/sell, then forced migration to other premises.
In November 2023, BT Openreach has 12.1 million home passed with full fibre FTTP, increasing to 25 million properties by end of 2026, leaving up to 5 million with only part fibre broadband from BT, but perhaps with service from other fibre providers. Openreach plans to update 2,983 exchange areas to full fibre FTTP by the end of 2026 (these can be checked on our CodeLook tool), but that leaves about 2,600 exchange areas without full fibre, including major urban localities like central Croydon, Bromley, Greenwich, Hampstead, Ealing and many other parts of London.
Many areas yet to get full fibre FTTP from Openreach instead have service from over 100 other suppliers, including Community Fibre who serve one million homes and 212,000 businesses in Greater London being expanded to 2.2 million selected premises by 2024, CityFibre currently passes 2 millions homes and plans 8 million by 2025, and Open Fibre Networks that offers services to new build estates. Many rural areas have small scale full fibre roll outs from hundreds of full fibre installers, often organised by their communities.
Non-Geographic Service Charges
Non-geographic Call Services (NGCS) charging changed from 1st July 2015 to make it easier to understand for consumers. Calls to 084, 087, 09 and 118 calls will comprise a published Service Charge that is the same from all operators, and an extra Access Charge that is determined by the operator that sends your phone bill, which is often similar to the cost of a national call.
The Service Charge is chosen from 100 different charge bands varying from 1p/min to £7.99/min, fixed fee from 5p to £6 per call, and a combination of fixed fee and per minute, originally up to a maximum of £15.98 for the first minute and then £7.99/min. All these prices include VAT. Each service provider has selected new Service Charges for it's existing number ranges and is responsible for advertising this cost to it's customers. Sometimes the new Service Charges are similar to the current charges, often rounded up since many old charge bands had fractional costs (due to VAT changes), but they may vary significantly.
For instance, all 0845 call used to cost the same irrespective of extra digits, but the new Service Charge varies from 1p to 7p/min depending on the next three code digits, and 0870 varies between 1p and 13p/min, both with the additional Access Charge.
Our CodeLook tool may be used to see the charges for any NGCS number for which a Service Charge has been allocated and shows the price of calls of various lengths combined with the Access Charge for each operator.Ofcom introduced a maximum directory enquires call cost from 1st April 2019. which meant many directory enquiry services moved to cheaper service charge bands, and from 1st May 2019 several service charge bands changed price to match the new Ofcom maximum price for the first 90 seconds.
Operator Access Charges
The Access Charge is always charged for each minute, even for Service Charge fixed fee calls, and for fixed line calls is often the same as national telephone calls (01/02/03). These calls will normally be charged for a minimum of one minute, but will not have a call setup cost (unless part of the Service Charge) so some short calls may even be cheaper (set-up is 20p or more) There is no change to 07 mobile and personal call costs. This new charging regime only applies to residential calling, business calling may continue to use the old charge bands, new Service Charges sometimes with extra set-up added, or choose their own prices, as TalkTalk Business has done.
Residential Tariffs - including VAT
In the past, many operators added a 10% or 20% surcharge to non-geographic calls which could add up to £1/min, so these new Access Charges reduce the difference in call costs between operators significantly. But the high access charges means the cost of most 08x calls that used to be 0.5p to 10p/min are now much higher. Ofcom originally expected some operators to include the Access Charge in free call bundles, but only EE is doing this for 0845/0870 calls only, so far. Some operators still include inclusive 0845 and/or 0870 calls without Access or Service Charge if 01/02/03 is inclusive, including BT, PlusNet, Post Office, Sky and Virgin Media.
Business Tariffs - excluding VAT
Note business tariffs don't have to follow the same Ofcom rules as residential tariffs and may continue to use the old NGSC charge bands instead of Access and Service Charges, although BT appears to be replacing all the old charge bands with Service Charge bands so there may be an issue of what old band should be used by new number ranges. Business tariffs may also be rather more creative with tariff structures. BT Business is varying the Access Charge by time of day and adding a set-up cost, which Ofcom prevents for residential operators. Those with BT Business Standard tariff, often used for credit card machines and alarm circuits that make lots of short 084x calls, had substantial increases, a 30 second call that used to cost 5p has jumped to over 60p.
Numbering and Database Products
A number of UK telephone Numbering and Database Products are available, including:
ComCap - Magenta Serial Port and Network Capture Utility
ComCap is a Windows application designed to capture data received on PC RS232 serial communications ports or using network TCP/IP and UDP streams and save it. Captured data is shown in scrolling windows and is written to text files, and may also be printed, written to SQL database tables or echoed to other PCs using network protocols or serial ports. Captured data can have text added such as date and time, a serial number and remote IP address. Data from up to 999 serial ports and network streams can be captured simultaneously, in separate files, with various file rotation schemes to start new files periodically. ComCap will capture to files on two separate disk drives for redundancy and will send email and SMS alerts if problems occur. ComCap is both a system tray and background service application that can be set to start automatically when windows starts, and remain unobtrusive. When using the background service, captured data may be still be viewed as it arrives. .
Please email any comments or corrections about the UK Telecom Tariff Comparisons
Magenta Systems Ltd, 9 Vincent Road,
Croydon CR0 6ED, United Kingdom