Two new operators are entering the phoneline market today with both BE and Zen announcing their landline products to compete with BT. This will allow consumers and businesses to buy a phone line direct from their favoured broadband provider rather than having to manage separate contracts with another company. The best news of course is that the products are cheaper than getting your landline from BT, although consumers should take in to account options like special offers or paying for a year up-front which could work out cheaper.
Both BE and Zen are focusing on selling their landline products to broadband customers with BE linking the contract length to be the same as for their broadband services. Helpfully, it won't automatically be renewed without the customers agreement. Zen opted for a slightly different approach with a one month minimum contract so customers can move away easily if they want to.
As always, pricing isn't the easiest to compare as different providers chose different things to include with their service, but a rough price guide for the home consumer options can be seen below.
|Product||Included||Cost / month|
|BE Landline||Line rental only||£9.50|
|BE Evening & Weekends||Evening & weekend calls included||£10.50|
|BE Anytime||Free to UK numbers & 600 international minutes||£13.50|
|BT line rental||Line rental only||£11.54 / £14.29*|
|BT Weekend||Weekend calls included||£11.54 / £14.29*|
|BT Anytime||Anytime calls included||£16.53 / £19.28*|
|Zen Home Talk||Line rental only||£10.99|
|Zen Home Talk Plus||Includes 1000 anytime minutes||£16.99|
* Cost dependent on payment and billing options chosen
Zen also differentiate themselves by not having a minimum call set-up fee (BT charge 9.9p per call) and calls are generally cheaper per minute than BT.
"We've responded to our members' requests to provide landline and have delivered it in a way that focuses on giving consumer's control – no excessively long contracts, no automatic contract renewals, and no unnecessary bundling of features that increase the cost to the customer. We want people to be able to get on with living their online lives with minimal disruption, and the launch of the new landline service will help us to achieve this."Tom Williams, (MD) BE Broadband
BE have been expected to launch landline products following their parent company O2 having launched their home phone landline products in May.
"Zen's Home Talk and Business Talk services aim to provide calls packages that would see our customers save considerable amounts on their phone bill quickly and easily. They also provide our customers with the confidence that these services come with the same high level of service and support as Zen's award winning Broadband. Introducing these new services clearly demonstrates our commitment to provide the best ISP service in the UK."Andrew Saunders, (Head of Product Management and Marketing), Zen Internet