(Don't) Call me

I need some advice. I want either cheaper TV, Broadband and Telephone calls, how do I get them? Actually that’s a lie, I only really want cheaper telephone calls.

Currently we have contracts with both Sky and Virgin Media.

We have Sky for our TV viewing and we take all the movies and sports channels, although I am considering cropping the ‘standard’ channel package down a little. My parents have Virgin Media for their TV service and, ignoring the fact I’d have to invest in a PVR system of some sort to get back the functionality I’d be losing, I happen to think the Sky service is better. It certainly seems easier to use and Virgin don’t give you the choice of what to record (hence the separate PVR).

We have Virgin Media for our telephone line and broadband and, from what I’ve read, the Sky broadband service isn’t the greatest and I’m loathed to move from Virgin Media (was Telewest) as the broadband service has been solid and reliable for the past 6 years, and we DO spend a lot of time online (Louise increasingly so). The telephone line is… well it’s a telephone line. We have caller ID and cheap(ish) calls to Europe.

We both have contract mobile phones, and once my contract (with Orange) is up I’m considering moving to PAYG… but in saying that I do miss not having a good phone with internet access and reliable Sync with my contacts… so I might hold out and aim for one of the HTC devices (running Windows Mobile). I am currently reducing my contract at every opportunity.

Basically, given my reluctance to switch broadband and TV suppliers, then the phone service is the one I’m focussing on. Largely our phone calls are within the UK, bar two or three calls a week to Spain.

I’ve done some digging in various forums and websites and think I know the answer but thought I’d see if my wonderfully intelligent readers could offer me another insight.

Given the restraints, what is the best phone service for us to switch to? Should we just ditch the landline altogether? What is the impact on people calling us (actually that’s a moot point, both mobile phones have very poor reception in the house so that wouldn’t be practical)? Do I need to do some more research into VOIP?

And yes, I am one of those bloggers who has just received a months trial with a Skype mobile. So that may be an option I can explore.

Any further comments, thoughts and suggestions are welcomed. Or should I just shut up, because, frankly, this isn’t that big a deal really.

5 comments

  1. I’d agree about keeping the cable connection: the people I know who I’d trust for an opinion tend to prefer the stability of cable.

    If your connection is of fair bandwidth and contention you might consider VoIP, but thrash the Skype trial before you commit to anything there: most people find that VoIP over their home connection is fine most of the time but the contention can really kill it if everyone else has got the same idea.
    I take it neither of you are receiving business calls at home? VoIP services make it much easier to take numbers with you should you move.
    Although some VoIP call providers are very cheap, factor in the cost of getting reasonable hardware: you’ll probably want a network-attached hardware phone or an Analogue Telephone Adapter (and if the VoIP service advertises advanced features, be aware that some hardware may not support them all).

    Once you’ve decided whether or not to use VoIP, most suppliers are much of a muchness. VoIP providers may vary in quality while fixed-line telecoms are normally pretty consistent (until you call abroad, but even then you find that most providers are using the same lines and suffering much the same problems).

  2. My employer pays for all this apart from sky. As I work from home for 30 hours a month + , therefore its an expense according to HMRC.

  3. Just to let you know that your new preview/post doesn’t allow me to post from IE6 (it comes up with ‘previewd comment’ irrespetive of whether I hit post or preview, and won’t post even if one keeps rehitting either button). I’ve now tried from a PC, 2 different laptops and a portable internet, so I don’t think it’s me.

    ************************

    1899.com cheapest for calls to landlines (free apart from small connection charge) and abroad (a couple of pence a minute) (not for calls to mobiles though).

    BUT you will need to dial an access code that is quite long from a non-BT line (but this can be programmed in).

    For more info on all this lot, moneysavingexpert.com will supply all your answers.

    People who have only mobile numbers don’t get called by me. Not that I’m planning ot call you, but, I’m sure I’m not the only one who takes this stance.

  4. I’ve been having issues with the Preview thingy too, it’s been whacked for now. Sorry for the hassle.

    WHY didn’t I think to check on moneysavingexpert?! Sheesh, what an idiot.

    Will check out 1899.com – ta – as both our families in the UK are on Virgin for phone line too, those calls are free in evenings and weekends, it’s only Spain that costs us.

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