Avoid the financial sting of festive phone calls

The cost of keeping in touch is something that often gets overlooked in the run up to Christmas, but by planning ahead Brits can make significant savings on their phone bills over the festive period.

New research from Homephonechoices.co.uk has discovered that 29% of Brits with friends and family living abroad are planning on making Christmas calls to their loved ones.

Of those consumers, a quarter (26%) plan on using their landline home phone to stay in touch without using an international calling plan or add-on, while a further 7% plan to use their mobile phone. These Christmas callers face a hefty post-December phone bill unless they take advantage of low cost international call options.

Michael Phillips, product director Homephonechoices.co.uk, commented:
“Christmas is an expensive time of year so it is baffling to see so many consumers overpaying needlessly by making international calls using the most expensive means available. The majority of UK households will have trimmed back on their monthly outgoings in order to fund Christmas, but if they are not careful they could undo all their good work by incurring a costly one-off phone bill.

“Most landline providers offer competitive overseas call packages and VoIP services such as Vonage can offer amazing savings to more far flung destinations. If the person you are calling on VoIP has the same service, it can even be free.

“If you frequently make calls abroad for birthdays and anniversaries then these options can save you hundreds of pounds over the course of a year.
Always use a comparison service to shop around for the best package and avoid the financial sting of staying in touch.”

Homephonechoices.co.uk’s top tips to cutting the cost of Christmas calls:

1. Inclusive international calls – A few home phone providers do actually include international calls within their standard package. For example, Auracall offers free calls to 39 destinations worldwide, whilst TalkTalk includes unlimited calls to 36 international landline destinations.

2. Consider VoIP – VoIP phone calls are made over your broadband connection instead of your regular phone line. The most well known providers are Vonage and Skype. The main advantage here is cost, specifically to destinations such as India and calls to other VoIP users on the same provider (eg Skype to Skype) – which are free.

3. Package add-ons – If you frequently make international calls, check to see if your home phone provider has any suitable add-ons or a specific international calling plan that could save you money.

4. Use prefix dialling codes – Some home phone providers allow you to make cheap international calls from your landline by dialling a prefix number before your call. This is a simple way of making international calls cheaply and without too much hassle.

5. Shop around and switch – Switch to a provider offering good deals on calls to the specific country of your choice. Compare the different packages available using an Ofcom accredited price comparison site and find the best deal for you.