BT today made UK weekend call charges a thing of the past by extending free weekend calls to its 10.8 million Option 1 customers. The move takes effect from today and will mean that, for the very first time, all 14.8 million BT households – the majority of British households – will no longer have to pay for weekend calls.
The giveaway is the first step in a revision of BT’s prices that will also see the cost of its two most inclusive calling plans slashed from April 1. These cuts will see BT undercut its closest rivals for such standalone plans.
The main changes are:
Unlimited Weekend Plan (replaces BT Together Option 1) – this plan is free with customers paying line rental only. From today, customers on this plan will receive free weekend calls without having to do a thing. Furthermore, if they take a 12 month renewable contract, they will also get free evening calls, saving them a further £32.40 a year on top of the savings they will enjoy through receiving free weekend calls.
Unlimited Evening & Weekend Plan (replaces BT Together Option 2) – BT is cutting the price of this plan, which offers free calls at weekends and evenings, by 22 per cent to just £2.70 a month (it was £3.45). The monthly cost of this plan has now fallen by more than 50 per cent in just two years.
Unlimited Anytime Plan (replaces BT Together Option 3) – BT is cutting the price of this plan, which offers free calls at all times, by 25 per cent to just £5.95 a month (it was £7.95). The monthly cost of this plan has now fallen by almost 60 per cent in just two years. The plan includes discounts of up to a third on calls to mobiles as well as 200 inclusive texts.
BT customers will enjoy further savings from April with the launch of a new International Saver calling plan. This offers highly competitive rates for calls to all international destinations for just £1 a month.
This is the third time in the past two years that BT has slashed the price of its inclusive calling plans. A recent report from Ofcom estimated that a typical basket of fixed line calls had fallen in price by 30 per cent since 2002 and that fixed line prices are now lower in the UK than in France, Germany, Italy and the USA.
Gavin Patterson, BT group managing director, Consumer, said: “These are radical changes that will benefit millions of our customers – and they don’t need to do a thing. Millions of people will see the price of their call plans fall whilst millions more will enjoy free weekend calls for the very first time.
“These are fantastic deals and, unlike with some of our competitors, there’s no need to take another costly service to get the benefits. Weekend calls are being given away for free to millions of people and there’s the added bonus of free evening calls if customers take a contract and stay with BT. Our research shows that customers prefer to know what their bill will be in advance and that’s why we’ve cut the price of our inclusive plans.
“Customers can now get all their calls for less than twenty pence a day – less than the price of a second class stamp, or what you’d pay for sending a couple of texts. We’re moving towards a world where people won’t pay per call in the same way they don’t pay per email.”
From April 1, BT is revising some other prices. For the first time in two years, the price of line rental – now available with free calls at the weekend – will go up, by 75p to £11.75. Customers who take paper-free billing will see no change however as the discount for that option is increasing by 75p to £1.25. BT will donate one tree, which the Woodland Trust will plant, for each customer who opts for paperless billing. BT has already donated hundreds of thousands of trees.
The price of daytime calls is also being revised from 3.25p a minute to 4p a minute. These calls are free for customers on the Unlimited Anytime Plan which now costs less than 20p a day.
The price of evening calls for Unlimited Weekend Plan customers is also changing to 1.5p a minute. Those customers can enjoy these calls for free if they sign a 12-month contract which will then operate on a rolling basis. This means they will enjoy free weekend and evening calls as long as they stay with BT. The existing set-up fee of 6p will apply to all chargeable evening calls.
BT will be contacting all customers on these packages to inform them about the changes so that they can decide which package is best for them.