back to article BT rolls back the night

BT has shifted night time by an hour, deciding that peak rate should run from 0700 to 1900, rather than the six-to-six with which we're all familiar. It seems people are working later, or at least making calls later, which has prompted the shift in the time at which calling rates drop, though BT's not alone in defining evening …


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  1. john loader

    Cheapest time to phone your friends

    is when they're out!

    1. Magnus_Pym
      Thumb Down


      Not if they've got that bloody 1471 answer thingy on. You get charged for the call and the dubious benefit of leaving a message that nobody will ever listen to.

  2. Neill Mitchell

    Sets a prescedent

    That everyone else will now follow. Very bad news.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Stuck in a BT 12/18 month contract? Now you're not!

    If you are a consumer (not a business) stuck in one of the 12/18 month contracts BT have used recently, please write them a note saying that following this change in Ts+Cs, you regard the 12/18 month tie in as unenforceable, and you reserve the right to leave without further notice and without penalty.

    Of course, as some of the line rental providers are even worse then BT you may wish to leave line rental with BT and have calls routed elsewhere. This is particularly attractive if you believe BT's persistent allegations that they make a loss on line rental. There are lots of indirect providers that don't have a ridiculous 10p "call setup charge", 1899 and friends for example charge 5p or so (total) for an hour-long UK call.

    Thanking you (unless you're a BT HQ manager, in which case, up yours, may you burn in hell).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I thought the whole point of the modern digital phone age was to bring prices down?

    Why are they essentially introducing stealth increases? What actually changes at 7pm that suddenly means BT only need to charge a quarter of the rate?

    Unless there's congestion and measures are required to dissuade people from using the phone during peak hours (highly unlikely) I see charging different tariffs at different times of the day as antiquated as the old window tax (and I'm not talking about Microsoft).

    If they want to charge businesses and domestic users different rates then fine. But why does a little old lady have to pay significantly different rates if she phones her grandson at 4pm or 8pm or weekends?

    1. g e

      BT's 8 quid routing stealth fee

      If you route your BT fixed line calls through your ISP/elsewhere as I do, then be aware they will charge you 8 quid a month for NOT making any billable calls across the BT network.

      When I was very rude to BT when I found this out having queried why a bill was around 19 quid instead of 11 quid I was told the best way round it was to make a 1471 call to find the last number which dialled you then press 3 to ring the number back which would incur a BT ringback thingy charge doofernut and defeat the monthly 8 quid fine for not using BT.

      Charging you for not being able to charge you. Utter. Thieves.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Interesting.. no wonder BT keep phoning me every night to sign up for an additional 12mths, even Sunday evenings! The annoyance factor alone is good enough reason to leave em, the offer of saving a whole £2 a mth just isnt that appealing vs being able to jump to another provider without notice...

      Just need to get call blocking enabled and add BT to it

    3. Joel Mansford


      I would second that, the best freedom of choice comes from using BT line rental and then shopping around for call providers.

      I've been using 1899 for over 5years now and have never found a better deal

  5. Nuke

    I had Jumped to the wrong conclusion

    So it's because people are working later. I thought for a minute that it was so that BT would make more money.

  6. Dick Emery
    Thumb Down

    More profiteering from BT

    Nuff said.

  7. JimC

    @Bit Fiddler

    You seriously think that there is such a thing as a network that cannot have capacity problems and cannot benefit from spreading the load a bit?

  8. Wize

    If a calls worth making, its worth getting overcharged on a landline

    I'll sit on the sofa with my free mobile minutes thanks all the same.

  9. Andy ORourke

    It is quite stealthy

    It came to my attention in an email which normally I would have binned but because I am coming up to the end of my 12 month contract (and about to get my MAC, Woo Hoo) I decided to read it.

    It really doesnt bother me, I dont make outgoing calls that often, I know my relatives all eat their dinner between 6 & 7 pm so if I do call it is generally after 7 anyway. I am just wondering how many people actually read the email or the little enclosure for those still receiving paper bills.

    There are probably many who will be caught out in the first couple of months and face a slightly higher bill. There are probably as many who never use their BT line except as a host for their broadband service.

    1. David Gosnell


      They really are becoming the Ryan Air of telecoms... Shame (unlike budget airlines) that the fixed-line alternatives remain so unconvincing.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "Few of the mobile operators bother with timed rates these days, their tariffs are complicated enough without making them time-dependent."

    Bollox - you obviously don't have a clue about UK mobile phone tariffs.

    anon because I'm paid to check these things for a living (and no I'm not a mobile phone salesman).

  11. David Gosnell

    Evenings no more?

    Looking on the BT site, I can't see them promoting any packages with weekday evening calls at all. The only offerings are Unlimited Weekend (inclusive on a 12-monther) and Unlimited Anytime (£4.99 a month). I guess that means this 7 o'clock change (when's it supposed to happen?) is just part of phasing out the weekday evenings thing altogether once existing contracts have expired.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      How about ...

      ... being more specific? Stating that someone doesn't know the same as you without evidence is worthless and arrogant.

    2. smudge Silver badge

      existing customers only

      I have the Unlimited Evening and Weekend Plan on a 12 month contract, and have just had a letter to say that it will be reviewed next month, unless I cancel it.

      So that package IS continuing, but only for existing customers.

      The letter and their website say nothing about them changing the start time of evening, so I would like to know where this story came from.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I was thinking the same thing... 7pm is cheap(er) rate for my mobile.

  12. smudge Silver badge

    Please provide external references

    Could you please provide an external link or source for this?

    There is no mention of it on BT's website, which still says that evening starts at 6pm, and AFAIK they haven't told me about it.

    1. David Gosnell

      Not a link, sorry...

      ... but a couple of excerpts from their email, dated 1 February 2010, entitled "Important information about your BT service".

      <quote>We are also making some changes to your BT service.

      We'd also like to make you aware of some changes to our prices, terms and conditions, effective from 1st April 2010. These include changing what we define as the evening call period for all types of calls: at the moment from 6pm-6am, but changing to 7pm-7am.</quote>


      <quote>Daytime and Evening call period.

      From 1st April 2010 we will be changing the evening call period: currently from 6pm-6am, changing to 7pm-7am. As a result, calls made between 7pm and 7am will be charged at the evening rate. This change will affect all call types, including calls to mobiles, international numbers and 0845 and 0870 numbers1. If you are on the Unlimited Evening & Weekend Plan, your inclusive calls will start at 7pm instead of 6pm.</quote>

      Also quiet mention made in the footnotes of a £1 per month charge for 1571 if you don't make at least two calls (though inclusive does count, thank goodness). Truly the RyanAir of telecoms.

  13. Andus McCoatover

    Early to bed? Bill's gonna rise

    Ohh, thank God. Thought for a minute you implied that Bill Gates was returning to Microsoft!!

    Dammit, I rushed out and bought loads of garlic to adorn the bedroom just in case, before I read the whole article.

    Funny thing, worktimes. Not unusual here (Finland) to be starting at 06:00. Or earlier.

    Having said that, there's always skype...some commercial companies use it here.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    ... billable calls across the BT network ..."

    "8 quid a month for NOT making any billable calls across the BT network."

    Yes I know, and I hate it too. In the interests of brevity my previous post didn't mention that you should still use BT for chargeable Number Translation Service calls (084x, 087x, etc) you make, because (a) they're probably no more expensive than others as BT are a major NTS provider anyway (b) it avoids the "you've not made any chargeable calls" surcharge.

    Burn, BT, burn.

    Except Openreach. Nationalise them, and enforce fttp everywhere. Oh, sorry, wrong article.

    1. NogginTheNog
      Thumb Up


      Better still, show those two fingers and use to get free calls wherever you can!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Paris Hilton

        say no to 0870

        For a site that is such widely known as say no to 0870 have you seen how shit it looks?

  15. PDS

    7pm Evenings? Luxury

    Here in Canada, Rogers (and probably other cellphone providers) decide that evenings start at 9pm!!! Though you can have your evenings start earlier (6pm or even 5pm) but that costs extra.....

  16. N2 Silver badge


    Dont use them for anything.

  17. Mark York 3 Silver badge

    7pm Evenings? Luxury

    Are you to the east (Newfoundland) or West, beacuse I find the mindtwuck is making calls & reading statements for expenses purposes & being two hours behind Toronto.

    Given up on any thought of a contract mobile here.

  18. theloon

    as If you needed another reason to just use your mobile...

    PSTN traffic is dying on it's feet. You want to call the person not the house...

    The really scary thing about BT is that they really believe that they can move people away from using the mobile back to landlines.

    They believe that the standard usage pattern has changed and 7-7 works better for people. Might be so or might not, but who they hell calls someone's home number if that person has a mobile!

    a: costs more to call the mobile FROM a BT landline

    b: the mobile is the most likely way to reach anyone these days.

    c: your mobile will most likely have all friends and families numbers in anyway. Who want to manage 2 devices, plus does anyone have a home phone that syncs' to their PC/Mac?

    d: you have already probably paid for an anytime minutes package on your mobile, why pay for the BT call?

    PSTN you have done well, rest in peace...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    No, I find it utterly implausible that BT's 21CN would grind to a hault as a result of people making phone calls at any time of day.

    The only times any first-world 21st century digital phone network would have any problems with people making too many phone calls are either when there are serious malfunctions or when a nation of dopes are all phoning any given Ant & Dec premium rate number to vote for the cute young blond lad with the sad puppy eyes.

    All of which is irrelevant to the main point - Why does the price of a domestic call in this day and age vary wildly depending on the time of day? This change is a stealth price hike.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Aah, Mr Erlang, I've been expecting you.

      "No, I find it utterly implausible that BT's 21CN would grind to a hault as a result of people making phone calls at any time of day."

      Then you fail to understand the economics of running a telephone network - any telephone network. They're sized to cope with the peak demand - else they cost more to run than they need to. The determining factor in the size is then peak usage - so if you can use pricing to smooth or flatten a peak (maybe by encouraging domestic users to make calls after 7?) then you can reduce the size and cost of your network. And if you don't do it you can be sure that your competitors have and that they'll price you out of the market.

  20. Anonymous Coward


    BT used to have Cheap, Standard and Peak rate which was different depending on if it was a Local, Regional or National call and people were charged by the unit. Oh and the reason for quarterly bills is because someone had to go and photograph all the meters in the exchange then clerks would read the meters from the photos and key it in to the computer to generate the bill.

  21. madferret

    8 quid fee

    "If you route your BT fixed line calls through your ISP/elsewhere as I do, then be aware they will charge you 8 quid a month for NOT making any billable calls across the BT network."

    @g e: I think BT only apply the charge if you have agreed to have the free 1571 and caller-id packages, then fail to make any calls through their network. It's not dependent on the calls package you have.

    I've got their basic line rental (aka Inclusive Weekend Calls) and asked them to switch off 1571 and caller-id. On direct debit, I pay £11.54 a month and route most calls through 18185.

    BT, like most telcos, have tariff and discount packages with all kinds of obscure conditions that aren't easy to get out of.

  22. Nuke

    It tells you in the nauseatingly ..

    .. patronising leaflet that comes with the phone bill. I've just received mine.

  23. heyrick Silver badge

    Night time is not a worry any more

    When I was younger I would phone BBSs. I got a rude awakening (and a serious parental bollocking) that made me acutely aware of distance and time.

    But now I can forget about it. 8€ a month gets my VoIP line an hour of free calls to mobiles (any network in the country) and it operates with a one-month rollover so effectively I have two hours... which I never use. I also have unlimited national calls (except special tariff). Now for the crunch. Ditto the last, but add the UK, USA, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Canada, Japan, New Zealand... in fact if you ignore the bits of the world between Cyprus and India, I can call the rest. Any time. Unmetered. Unlimited.

    Oh, and I pay no line rental. Only a (slightly higher) cost for my ADSL. But it is still cheaper than with-line-ADSL plus the rental of a normal line.

    I *wish* Orange was cheaper ( - look for "Sans ligne fixe", plus 8 for the special tariff, plus 3 for the box), but I get my money's worth of the unlimited calls (and no time-of-day issues either), plus... are you for real - BT charged eight quid for not making a chargeable call? WTF? That is SO wrong.

  24. Charles Smith

    Stealth 9% increase

    This is a bit like BT's stealth 9% increase on domestic call charges for "out of plan" calls that will take effect on 1st April 2010 (really, the date is true) announced in fine pale type at the foot of an email.

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