|UK Telecom Tariff Cost Comparisons|
Tariffs Version 274
Site Last Updated:
Business Members Site
Residential Members Site
Numbering Members Site
Database Members Site
What's New This Month
March 2021 Changes
Comparisons of 61 residential and 39 business land line telephone tariff call costs, and 350 residential and 177 business call and broadband plans charged by 60 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 landline 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 5th December 2022, two years away. 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 telephone service over the internet. Eventually all properties will get internet using Fibre to the Premises, but this may take another 10 years, so some properties will initially still have Fibre to the Cabinet with copper line delivery. ADSL will cease, replaced by FTTP or FTTC. For those that only need telephone and not broadband, a 500Kb fibre service will be available.
BT Openreach will stop selling landline PSTN and ISDN at a further 117 exchanges from June 2021, 51 more from October 2021 and another 51 from January 2022 with the remaining 5,000 odd exchanges stopping selling in batches until September 2023, and all services ceasing by December 2025. In practice, PSTN is already ceasing from some properties in which FTTP is installed, by removal of the copper telephone cable at the same time as a fibre cable is installed. For the last year, some broadband suppliers like Sky have no longer provide PSTN with new contracts but VoIP only. Some suppliers will provide FTTP broadband alone without any VoIP, but many such as BT automatically migrate your PSTN 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 PSTN 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, and technically is very similar to free services such as Skype and WhatsApp. Unfortunately this low cost is not currently reflected in lower line rental cost, which due to Ofcom is now invisibly included with your broadband cost. nor in reduced call costs. One well known VoIP provider has charged about £1/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.
WBC SOGEA (Single Order Generic Ethernet Access) is the wholesale name for FTTC/VDSL without a phone line for speeds up to 80Mb, then SOG.Fast for 160 and 330Mb speeds. If a supplier offers WBC SOGEA, it means no landline, only VoIP.
Our CodeLook tool will be updated soon to keep track of which exchanges are planned or full FTTP and when PSTN and ISDN is being withdrawn.
Non-Geographic Service Charges
Non-geographic Call Services (NGCS) charging changes 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, are going to get a major shock on their new bills - a 30 second call that used to cost 5p has jumped to 42p to 50p depending on the Service Charge.
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