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What types of phone company can I choose from?
There are lots of different types of phone company out there, with different types suiting different people. You can choose between several types, including Direct Access companies (also known as Wholesale Line Rental Providers), or Indirect Access companies.
You don’t need to worry too much about the jargon – switchandgive.com’s impartial home phone calculator will compare the different UK telephone suppliers to help find the best supplier for you.
What is a direct access phone company?
A Direct Access (or Wholesale Line Rental) company connects directly to your phone by wire or cable. You pay them the one company for line rental, the cost of the calls you make and then any additional services you use such as Caller ID or Call Waiting.
BT is an obvious example of a direct access company, and is available everywhere in the country except for Hull, where Kingston Communications is the main direct access phone company. Other direct access companies include Talk Talk, Toucan and the Post Office.
In the UK, Virgin Media (formerly NTL and Telewest) provide TV as well as direct access phone services through a cable network. Cable phone services are available in over 50 per cent of the homes in the UK. If you sign up for cable services, you may need to have a new phone line installed.
What is an indirect access company?
You may also be able to use an indirect access phone company to get cheaper calls. Your calls are routed over that company’s network and you pay them for your calls, but you still have to pay line rental to your direct access company (e.g. BT’s line rental). Indirect access companies include first:telecom and Swiftcall, but some Direct Access companies also offer Indirect Access services as well.
There are three types of indirect access service, each one less sophisticated than the next:
Prefix number – after creating an account with a prefix company, you dial a short code before the number you want, to route your calls through them and get cheaper calls.
Autodialler – the autodialler company will send you a little box that you plug into your telephone socket that automatically routes the calls you make on that phone through them, without the need to dial the short code.
Carrier Pre Selection
What is Carrier Pre-Selection?
Instead of having to dial a code or use an autodialler, you give permission for your calls to be automatically routed through the network of your new supplier. As with other indirect access services, you will still need to pay line rental to your direct access company. For a BT line, they will still own and maintain the phone line and you will still receive bills from them for your line rental. You will receive a separate bill for the cheaper calls you make with your new supplier.
Which suppliers are available in my area?
The suppliers available to you are dependant on your postcode. BT is available all over the UK, apart from Hull where Kingston Communications is the only direct access phone company that operates. Cable phone supplier Virgin Media is available in more than half of the homes across the UK. All indirect access companies offer services that work with a BT line, but not all of them work with cable lines.
When you make your home phone comparison, choose what type of phone company you’re interested in. If you just want to make the cheapest calls possible and aren’t interested how you make them, just select all types of phone company.
If you’ve got any more questions, there’s plenty of help and information on the website, or alternatively you can call one of our advisors for free on 0800 074 0743.
to start a home phone price comparison.
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