Cool new phone service from my telco

Telewest’s new Talk Anywhere service

Telewest’s new Talk Anywhere service is the first of its kind in Britain and will give consumers a choice of packages with 200, 400 or 800 minutes per month. The time can be used to phone local, national, international, mobile and internet numbers for a fixed monthly fee, which also includes the phone line rental.

So let’s see: the cheapest is 200 minutes at £18, which includes line rental, which currently is £10.50. So that means for £7.50 I get 200 minutes, amounting to about 3.75p per minute. Not rock bottom for international calls to Indonesia (or anywhere for that matter) which I can get for 1p to 5p per minute through direct dial providers. But if the quality is as good as current Telewest line, then it’s definitely worth it. The direct dial providers varies so wildly in quality that you have to ring several numbers just to get a good line.

For mobiles 3.75p is extremely cheap, although there is a new company offering discounts to reach 1p per minute, but I’m sure that’s just a teaser rate.

For local/national calls 3.75p is considered expensive nowadays, with unlimited/1-hour redial for 5p etc.

So the big winner is callers to mobile, followed by international destinations if you care about ease of use (no more ever changing 0844 xxxx) and quality (“…so that’s the story. Over. Roger.”).

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Credit card (un)limit(ed) is bad for your health

Ireland bans credit limit hikes

Banks in Ireland will soon be banned from raising a customer’s borrowing limit on a credit card without getting their permission first.

This can only be a good thing. I’ve had one or more credit cards for the last ten years or so, and it is always very difficult to get into the discipline of not spending what you don’t have. Even if you set it up so you pay the balance in full every month. So much so that for now I have discontinued the use of credit cards except where it makes sense to use the built-in protection from non-delivery of goods etc.