BT 'phone contract renewals - would welcome any tips pls?

I'm just about to revisit my contract terms with BT. My needs are quite simple (I think) in that:

Have Sky via dish (inc Sports at discounted rate post their menu re-cut) + access BT Sports HD pack too

Have and use moby (not an i-phone) on 'cheap' terms for daytime calls - landline is rarely used during the day. Incoming callers appear to be on unlimited deals via various providers - and can dial a moby without penalty it seems. Most of my contacts/friends now seem to be calling from their moby's, borne of the airtime deals available.

Landline use is primarily for internet (via BT HH? - now aged but no driver to change) and can stand data limitation of say <20GB but would prefer to get 'unlimited' access for convenience.

Has anyone got any hints and tips, suggestions e.g. should I displace BT?    There are various ups and downs in all this vis the BT Sport element (price elevates if I don't use their broadband), how the landline charge works through etc. 

I located another thread which touched upon similar issues and, to my eyes, the conclusion in my case would be to retain the landline but seek to obtain best 'packaged' contract terms from whoever, which would be BT given the BT Sport aspects.

http://forums.naimaudio.com/to...o-ditch-the-landline

I've scanned the Vonage service and this looks to be aimed at the business market.

Original Post

I changed mine a while back:  I stayed with BT,  the new 80/20 contract gave me a HH6 (SmartHub)  highly recommended.     I gave up the 24/7 anytime phone calls saving £8.50 a month.  In the billing month I looked at, 'we' (Mrs Mike), made 16 phone calls,  and 13 of those were made over weekends when you get the phone calls for free in the basic package.  £8.50 for 3 calls was a total waste,  so I moved us both over to BT mobile SIM's (£5/m each) (you can keep your old phone number) & we now use the mobiles to make all calls,  at home via wifi its no limit free,   outside BT hotspots its all included in the SIM package & we don't get close to the data limit.   

Personally, I wouldn't touch BT with a very long bargepole. We've had two truly horrible experiences with them, the most recent one a couple of months ago which, because our little rural lane's now got high-speed FTTP, we were forced to go back to them. Our order was lost three times, every time you phone and eventually manage to talk to someone you get a different answer. Installation cancelled twice, forced into changing our phone number, but then the number we were given was changed again, just after I'd informed most of my contacts about the first change. Glad you like the BT Smarthub Mike, it certainly seems a good bit of kit. I've now got three of them for some reason...

As soon as the contract's up I shall be dropping BT like a hot potato. We've moved from our previous microwave system because we can now get 300mb, but we were very happy with Vonage, it worked a treat for us. Unfortunately, it appears you can't easily have broadband without also having a phone line (our fibre is a completely separate cable to the copper phone line). We've PlusNet in our other home, & that's fine, but I've had no need to contact them. 

Thanks for the feedback so far. All very welcome and Plusnet is on my agenda as I've heard good reports even though it's BT owned.

I'll engage with BT within next 48 hours and post some feedback. It seems common that domestic handsets are getting used less and less, with broadband being the driver to maintain a landline. AFAIK, in my locality we only have fibre to the exchange. 

Update for those interested i.e. on the basis a landline needs to be maintained for the beloved internet and occasional calls:

1- You need to understand the tenor of the breakage notice on existing terms - it seems mine is 30 days, even though the 'contract' has a stipulated renewal date. 

2- Plusnet appears to be the cheapest by some way for U/L BB and off-peak calls packaging - with short-dated tenor terms. 

Sky also far cheaper than BT for same but I'm hindered by BT Sport HD pack (BT cost £12.50 pm as against what would be ~£23pm (as I understand) if provider is changed to Sky). I'm not going near TalkTalk.

Plusnet (noting owned by BT and appear to operate as an autonomous unit within same?), have cited same costs for BT Sports HD as BT (happy days - albeit an increase flagged for 2018?). Also home 'phone # will remain the same.

While there might be some of the usual customer buying-in pricing terms in play, at this stage Plusnet's terms look compelling and, so far, their telephone service has bettered both BT and Sky's - the latter not hard given they use an 0844 number and have woeful voice recognition software (IME).

On the technical front & a correction to my understanding, it appears there is 'fibre to the cabinet' in my locality but I also know there must be a good 3/4 mile of copper from there to my house, with many 'twisted joints' along the way. Will call one of my neighbours who works for BT later and ascertain what service is actually available around these parts.  

Current savings estimate from switching is ~£190 for next 12m  (could even be more), so very much worth doing. 

Be careful if switching from copper to fibre. I did that and my speed halved from 3MB to 1.5MB. After many complaints and engineer efforts I was switched back to copper - all the farting around trying to get fibre to work had optimised my line to the extent that I now get 6MB+ on the same copper line. I also negotiated a large discount for the inconvenience so I'm happy now.

Evidently performance degrades gradually with distance from the cabinet using copper, but fibre performance falls off a cliff after abot 3/4 of a mile. The exact tipping point is hard to be precise about as they thought I would get 11MB+ but they made a costly (for them) error. 

All very interesting. I have stayed with BT as a default, but we haven't had many problems, beyond a very few number of days when the internet just drops. Never managed to track this down to BT or the HH box.

I really ought to drop BT as they seem to sponsor things (sport) I abhor. But I guess all of the providers do that, so by default I 'have' to stick with BT and save the hassle of changing my email address.

I'm much the same Nick.   BT have been OK with me,  yes I had some issues in the bad old days with ADSL & BT HH3,  most of which was caused by my house with a bunch of (bad for BB & now unused) open ended extensions.  However since BT removed it all & moved the entrance point to somewhere sensible & since FTTC, 80/20 service, HH5 & now HH6,  all giving trouble free service.  whats not to like.

Nick - I agree with the sentiments around BT's sport's rights, especially the football. I access BT Sport for rugby and MotoGP (highlights also now on C5 and rugby highlights also on terrestrial) - the rest I have little/no interest in. Sky's recent menu change around their sports package left me baffled e.g. one channel £18pm, the lot £20 (supposedly 5/6 channels?? - not really given the content spread). Oh, and their F1 Channel comes free with their general HD pack in any event. 

AFAIK, I think you can retain your e-mail address if you leave BT? Potential good call on this - thanks. Changing would be painful. I have retained my AOL e-mail address from many years back.

Mike - I'm still on a HH2 (a well depreciated unit!) and only need ADSL service. I don't dislike BT but their pricing terms for an existing & longstanding customer seem to be out of touch.

.........................................

Of course, they want me to call them again before I determine to terminate - I hate that approach. I've had the same with my house & car insurer this year - on both occasions the suggested renewal quote got slashed. 

I have come to the view that I am prepared to risk some potential hopping around the service providers given the domestic market & general competition arena should keep them all keen and if/when BT break out Openreach it should increase. After all, it's all down the same line.  

I've no interest in streamed TV services given my knowledge of the copper wires around where I live. I share a telegraph pole (are they still called that?) with a neighbour and every 3 years or so Openreach have to attend to the wiring atop the pole, I suspect due to the crows and/or squirrels. One other benefit of Plusnet is that I can start with an ADSL service and upgrade to fibre on straightforward terms, should the need arise. 

..what a game,

Happy Listener posted:

 

 I'm still on a HH2 (a well depreciated unit!) and only need ADSL service.

Worth changing up to a HH6 even if only for the massively improved wifi. Don't pay for one, just demand one when when near the end of your contract. A sneaky alternative is to report an intermittent fault - their first response is usually to send you a new HH immediately and FOC.

Happy Listener posted:

Mike - I'm still on a HH2 (a well depreciated unit!) and only need ADSL service. I don't dislike BT but their pricing terms for an existing & longstanding customer seem to be out of touch. 

I have to agree HL,   the price differentiation between new customers & those already hooked seems to be a common way with this kind of service,  BT & the other BB/phone providers included,  plus banks,  need I go on ??     I expect the biggest issue that gets us all hooked, landed & filleted is the hassle of getting new e-mail addresses & the other stuff that goes with it.     I guess I'm guilty as charged for not switching,  even if I could find a service that was better & more so when the baited hook contract has run out & we get landed with the 'real' contract price.      I'm surprised someone like 'Which' has not taken this on,  but maybe I'm missing what is going on in the watchdog services.       

Pev posted:
Worth changing up to a HH6 even if only for the massively improved wifi. Don't pay for one, just demand one when when near the end of your contract. A sneaky alternative is to report an intermittent fault - their first response is usually to send you a new HH immediately and FOC.

I've been on HH3 for what seems like a very long time. A couple of years ago i tried to update the old HH3 to the latest type [ i think HH5 at the time] but the BT contract renewal guy told me they are no longer provided free by BT as part of a contract, if i wanted to change my HH i would have to buy one, and iirc the quote at the time was around 80 quid for a new HH5. I didn't bother buy it, and still use the same old HH3.

How much does a HH6 cost?

Debs

Just to reiterate, I've had 2 HH5 and an HH6 after having intermittent problems at various times. My experience is that if you ring to report a problem sending in a new Hub is their default first response and they generally arrive the next day. Getting an engineeer to call is much harder. I also get in touch every year when my cotract is due for renewal  - the trick is to ask for a MAC code so you can switch. They then pass you on to Customer Retention who will give you pretty much anything to keep you - I have a very hefty discount which I haggle to retain every year. It costs nothing to ask.

I use Virgin media and pay for phone line a year in advance which secures a discount.  The internet speed is 70-100mb/sec and the tv feed comes off the incoming cable.  Like other providers, the package options can be bewildering.  I have had no problems with phone or internet for the past few years that I've had Virgin as a provider.  (Must confess I haven't run a price comparison with other providers for quite some time!).

Peter

In conclusion (and after c.2 hours 'phoning around and checking the detail of the offerings), I'm moving to Plusnet = an annualised saving >£200 for the contract term of 12m (inc £50 cashback), and moving to U/L BB. A downside is that my BT e-mail will likely cease (cost to retain £5pm = no thanks) but in some cases it appears the accounts remain open sans charge.

BT's Retention team weren't interested in matching terms (or even making a sensible offer) and it's clear to me (& them!) that the menu of BT's tariffs is very challenging to work through e.g. it was suggested I move to fibre, which I don't want (dubious service/benefits for me) and would be more expensive than my current ADSL, and then access a cheaper limited offer tariff for BT Sports. Head was spinning at this point.  

Chap at Plusnet was very good and their terms appear straightforward & flexible around upgrading within contract tenor. As things move forward in separating Openreach from BT, I suspect competition will keep the services and prices keen. Looking at the BT share price the analysts don't seem to like the immediate future.

At the very worst my costs won't increase against my retrospective terms, and it's only for 12m.

.....now off to tackle my other utility bills

Jon - thanks - it's owned by BT but operates autonomously (it seems). And, to date, their communications arrangements are far better (in line with their media ads). 

Sadly, my BT Sport subs escalate severely if I go to a 3rd party provider (but not Plusnet where they stay the same), which would negate all/most of any benefits in switching. 

Noted re other providers. ICUK's terms don't look materially different to my eyes, all things considered.

Mike-B posted:

I changed mine a while back:  I stayed with BT,  the new 80/20 contract gave me a HH6 (SmartHub)  highly recommended.     I gave up the 24/7 anytime phone calls saving £8.50 a month.  In the billing month I looked at, 'we' (Mrs Mike), made 16 phone calls,  and 13 of those were made over weekends when you get the phone calls for free in the basic package.  £8.50 for 3 calls was a total waste,  so I moved us both over to BT mobile SIM's (£5/m each) (you can keep your old phone number) & we now use the mobiles to make all calls,  at home via wifi its no limit free,   outside BT hotspots its all included in the SIM package & we don't get close to the data limit.   

Certainly recommend the BT mobile and discontinuing the anytime calls. If you think the online package is not as good as deals others get then ring BT retention on 0800 587 7216. You can at least haggle a bit and they listen. I have line rental saver and the unlimited broadband is bundled at £7/m plus line with caller ID thrown in. We get 24Mbs as we are very close to the exchange so fibre is not necessary.

Phil

Phil - you must have engaged with someone in the Retention team who was better versed than I did. I explained the ~£15pm 'gap' in competitive offerings (on a like for like basis) and they couldn't come up with any material ideas/couldn't amend their set terms.

I've just got their 'You are leaving us' e-mail, so wonder if I will get a call - I suspect not.

Under my new terms the off-peak calls package is only £4 pm and U/L ADSL BB £1 pm, the rest being cited as line rental charge (this is a 'strange but true' bit for me). I presume the package terms need to be articulated like this given the components of the offering, noting that if/when Openreach gets further distanced from BT, line rental charges could vary further. I can only read in to all this, and noting I'm getting a replacement router for nothing too, that there is a good corporate return in the line rental element - which I think is the beef the regulator and the raft of competitors who operate in this market, where the numbers are increasing as BT is forced to open its network out more. 

Happy Listener posted:

Phil - you must have engaged with someone in the Retention team who was better versed than I did. I explained the ~£15pm 'gap' in competitive offerings (on a like for like basis) and they couldn't come up with any material ideas/couldn't amend their set terms.

I've just got their 'You are leaving us' e-mail, so wonder if I will get a call - I suspect not.

Under my new terms the off-peak calls package is only £4 pm and U/L ADSL BB £1 pm, the rest being cited as line rental charge (this is a 'strange but true' bit for me). I presume the package terms need to be articulated like this given the components of the offering, noting that if/when Openreach gets further distanced from BT, line rental charges could vary further. I can only read in to all this, and noting I'm getting a replacement router for nothing too, that there is a good corporate return in the line rental element - which I think is the beef the regulator and the raft of competitors who operate in this market, where the numbers are increasing as BT is forced to open its network out more. 

I first contacted Retention 2 years ago. Now they may be given less scope to do deals.

I assume the above is your Plusnet offering. As I said with BT line rental saver (1 month free for 12 months up front) the U/L ADSL BB was £7/m. I can’t manage on a limited amount these days. I scrapped the Anytime calls and liked the £5/m BT mobile package, having never indulged in a contract before other than PAYG. My offspring never answer the landline so it is good to be able to reach them wherever they are, and you get free texts and 500MB of data which is enough. I personally find BT Wi-fi a pain so mobile data is useful. You need to be sure your BT mobile reception works in your house.

If you want to stay with BT you may have to compromise. The others have their downsides. The choice is yours. 

Phil

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