> Telephone - UK Guide
Telephone services in the UK have been through some big changes over recent years, and the world that was once monopolized by British Telecom has become home to a vast range of telecommunication providers. This, of course, is excellent news for the average consumer, as you can now enjoy a choice of providers to suit your needs and your budget.
How do I find out who serves my area?
In the past, it could be difficult to ascertain which providers served your area, and this could be a time consuming task. However, the limited number of telephone providers made it a little easier. These days, there are far more telephone providers, which potentially could mean more work in trying to find out which ones service your area. However, the Internet makes this task easier, with a number of sites through which you can find out about local providers.
What to look out for
When looking for a telecoms supplier, it is important to consider the price per call, and any offers on off-peak calls. Many people just assume that the bigger, better known companies are going to be the best, but in truth there are now many smaller telecom providers that can offer excellent customer services and a high level of service for a lower price. You should also look into payment methods, any special offers or rates for new telephone customers, and any package deals that could save you more money (such as phone and Internet).
How do I pay?
Most telecom providers now offer a wide range of payment options, which means a higher level of convenience and choice for consumers. Most telecom providers enable you to pay quarterly, and you can do this via a bank or post office, or by calling the provider and making a credit card or debit card payment. You can also send a cheque for your quarterly payment. Most providers now encourage people to pay on a monthly basis via direct debit, although there is no obligation to do so. This saves the provider a lot of time and money because payments are received regularly and on time. It can also save the consumer time and inconvenience. Many providers now offer a reduced rate for direct debit customers, so you can also save money by paying in this way.
Money Saving Tips
There are a number of ways in which you can save money on the cost of your phone bills. These include:
Limit the use of your landline during peak times.
Paying by direct debit will get you a discount with many telecom providers, and this can help to keep down unnecessary costs.
Combine your phone and Internet supply, as you may get a better deal by having both services from the same supplier.
How do I switch accounts?
Although many people think that switching must be a long winded and complicated process, hundreds of people switch every week, and these days the utility companies do all the work for you! All you have to do is decide which company you want to switch to, and contact the company to advise them. Then you simply let your old supplier know that you are switching, or the new company may do this for you. This is the general procedure, but may change from one provider to another.
You can find out more about the telecom service industry at the official regulatory board, the Office of Communications: www.ofcom.org.uk