Unlimited broadband for £2.50 a month, including line rental!

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eeI’ve recently come to the end of my free Sky TV and Broadband subscription (a special offer when Sky bought O2’s home broadband division), so I’ve been on the look out for some great deals for a new plan. I don’t live in a Fibre area (apparently we’re too close to the exchange), so this plan is ADSL.

You’ll need to be an Orange, T-Mobile or EE customer, but you’ll probably already have an Orange SIM card somewhere for all of those 241 Wednesday cinema offers. If not, just pick up a free SIM card online, or from your local supermarket (it’s usually about £1). You’ll need to use this SIM card every 90 days to qualify, so you’ll probably have to top it up with £10.

How to sign up:

  1. Get an EE sim card – you’ll need the mobile number to complete your order
  2. Go to the Quidco site, sign up (if you haven’t already, we get to split a £2.50 sign up bonus…), and go to the EE Broadband page
  3. Make sure your Adblock is disabled, and click through to the EE site. Make sure to select to pay your line rental in advance, complete your order and wait for your new router to be delivered

How good is it?

EE broadband download speeds seem slightly slower than Sky – I was getting 19Mbps, and am now getting 17Mbps. Although, I’m not really complaining, since there’s a pretty big price difference between the two. Upload speeds seem fairly stable between the two.

There is traffic management on EE broadband for P2P and usenet at peak hours (16:30 – 01:00), so if you’re a heavy downloader, you’ll need to switch to off-peak times or get a VPN.

They also didn’t seem to put through my line rental saver on my first bill – I called up and they’re giving me a refund for the price paid so far though.

Seen this elsewhere?

They’ve written about this on Money Saving Expert, but give you a link through their own cashback site – they’re offering a £100 Amazon.co.uk voucher, but you can get £130 cash through Quidco (with a 7% bonus for Amazon vouchers if you are a premium member) – as there’s an asterisk next to their deal, you can see they’re getting paid – and judging from the cashback available elsewhere, you can see where £30 is going…

More cashback?

Note that this offer seems to be flipping between Quidco and TopCashback – when it’s on TCB, you get £136.50 cash (£143.32 in Amazon.co.uk vouchers) if you are a premium member (£5 a year). It seems like it should be back on TCB in a week, but it’s up to you to decide whether you want to risk it coming back.

How it’s calculated:

The headline £2.50 price is based on taking out the £132 annual line rental, which should be wiped out by that £130 cashback. Don’t forget that this is eligible for 3% cashback with the Santander 123 current account too.

Note that cashback isn’t 100% guaranteed – but I’ve never had an issue before.

£120 worth of Cinema vouchers for £37

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Vodafone Cinema RewardThis offer is a little bit involved, but if you’re planning on spending £120 in the cinema before 31 July 2015 (and possibly for a year longer if you get a gift card), this could be a pretty good deal for you!

Your initial outlay is £70, but you’ll get £33 back from selling the phone (plus you get a month of Vodafone usage too), making the final cost just £37.

Buying your phone – deadline 31 December 2013

I’ve bought the Nokia Asha 210 Black, because it’s the cheapest phone that fits the criteria for the deal (smartphone costing over £50).

You need to make sure to buy the £20 “Freedom Freebie” with your phone to get the offer, and it doesn’t seem to be working online, so you might need to go into store to get your phone.

You should receive your special “Freedom Freebie” voucher and a popcorn shaped brochure containing a special code which you’ll need to pop into the Vodafone site to activate your offer.

Activating your SIM – deadline 14 January 2014

You need to activate your SIM with the “Freedom Freebie” code enclosed in the pack in order to be eligible for the free cinema vouchers.

Registering for your cinema voucher

Inside the popcorn brochure (pictured), you’ll find a scratch-off card. Go to the site on the card, enter your code and details about your phone (I think you’re meant to use the phone number of the SIM included).

You’ll be texted a link which you need to click to activate your account, so make sure you have it handy.

Selling the Phone

You’ll want to grab the IMEI number off the phone before you sell it – you need to enter this into the site to activate your cinema credit.

I’ve sold my Nokia Asha 210 to CEX for £33, which works out to a £17 loss (which you’ll make back on your cinema vouchers, of course!). They provide a prepaid label, so you can just drop it in at the Post Office, and that’s insured up to £20 when you get a free proof of posting.

Claiming your Credit – January to December 2014

You need to claim £10 credit each month. It’s not yet clear how this process will work, but it states that you’ll just have to log in to the website each month.

If you don’t claim the credit in any given month, you’ll lose the opportunity to claim that month’s £10.

Unused credit should accrue and must be used by 31 July 2015, at which point it’ll expire.

Using your Credit

It appears that you’ll get a prepaid Visa card with your balance loaded that you can use at any cinema in the United Kingdom. There doesn’t appear to be any restrictions on what you can buy within the cinema (not that they could find out, since it goes through the Visa processing network).

It’s not yet clear whether you can redeem your voucher online.

If you’re getting close to 31 July 2015, and you’ve got credit left, you can probably just buy a prepaid gift card from the cinema of your choice to extend the life of your balance.

Plus, you’ll probably be able to register your card with Quidco if you’re spending in Cineworld to get an additional 3% cashback.

Make sure you read their terms and conditions – this is based on my reading of it.

Can you really turn cold calls into cash? Probably not

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smarttalk

I recently read a BBC news article reporting on a man who turned ‘annoying cold calls into cash‘. It’s an interesting headline, and I can see why it reached the top of the ‘most read stories’ on the site: after all, who doesn’t like an underdog winning?

Is it worth it to setup a premium rate number of your own? Probably not.

It’s mentioned briefly in the article, but 087X numbers are regulated by PhonePayPlus – they’re treated as a ‘premium rate number’ in the same way as 09X numbers are. As a result, if you do have an 087X number, there’s a number of regulations you’ll have to follow: for example, you need to advertise the amount that they cost to the caller.

Additionally, setting up an 087X number isn’t as simple as you might think: whilst there are a large number of companies that let you do this, they’ll mostly charge you a monthly fee. You’ve also got the problem of actually getting your calls – you could forward the call to another number, but that’ll take quite a large percentage of the money you get from callers (particularly if you’re diverting to a mobile), so you’re usually going to have to setup a VOIP system on your mobile or computer, which gets a bit fiddly.

0844 numbers aren’t as heavily regulated as their 087X counterparts, but of course don’t earn you as much money. I’ve had one of these for a couple of months, but discontinued its use shortly after my provider decided to start charging a monthly fee that would outweigh any of the money I’d make from the per minute charges – 3p a minute doesn’t really add up that quickly, no matter how many calls you get!

You can stop most cold calls free by registering with the TPS

In conclusion: if you’re bothered by cold calls, it’s not going to be worth your while to set up a premium rate hotline. Simply make sure that you sign up to the Telephone Preference Service to reduce the number of calls that you get. Telemarketers are then legally required not to call you without prior consent.

Calling an 08 number from your mobile? Don’t dial direct

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If you’ve ever had to call a company with a non geographic number, you might find that it gets a little pricey. Companies make a bit of cash by getting a portion of the call costs when you call in on an 0844 number, but even with freefone numbers, mobile networks still charge for the call (although this is planned to be changed in the future).

Here’s some tips to save a bit of cash for those customer services lines:

Try seeing if there’s an ‘international number’

Since you can’t generally call 08 numbers from outside the UK, most providers usually offer an ‘international’ UK geographic number for you to call when you’re abroad.

Geographic numbers (01XX or 02XX) are included in the minutes you get as part of your mobile contract, so you won’t pay the 25p – 35p charge.

Unfortunately some companies have gotten wind of this, and detect if you’re in the UK. Withholding your number might work, but usually you’re going to have to find a different route…

BT SmartTalk lets you use your landline everywhere

BT SmartTalk logoRemember the warning for most phonelines where they say something to the effect of ‘mobiles may charge considerably more’? If you’re calling directly from your landline, you’ll usually end up paying a bit less.

Enter the new BT SmartTalk app: it works on Android and iOS devices. You can now use your landline anywhere you have an internet connection (preferably wifi, if you don’t want to use up your data allowance), and it even works abroad, potentially saving you a bundle on roaming charges if you’ve got a wifi hotspot nearby.

I’ve tried it out, and it the call quality seems pretty good – I couldn’t tell the difference from a normal landline call.

The great thing about using your landline is the inclusive 0845/0870 calls if you’ve got a BT calling plan and of course, freefone numbers are free rather than 10p – 30p, depending on your network.

You’ll need to be at home to set it up: they phone you with a confirmation code on your landline, send you a text to confirm your mobile number and they’ll post you a letter confirming the mobile has been added a few days later.

Changes from 1 July

From 1 July 2015, calls to 080 numbers are now free from mobiles, but 0500 numbers may still be chargable. You can get around those charges as follows:

Skype can call 0500 numbers for free

If you haven’t got a BT landline, simply download the Skype app for your phone, and use SkypeOut to call. You don’t need to top-up.

Usual caveats apply regarding data usage.

0800buster can get you free freefone calls from your mobile

0800buster0500 numbers may be chargable, but you can dial 0333 555 8800 and you’ll be prompted to enter the freefone number you want to call.

 

Saynoto0870 might help you find an alternative number

Saynoto0870 is a website which gives alternative geographic numbers: but this doesn’t always work: sometimes you’ll just get put through to a random person in the company, or you’ll just get through to a recording that tells you to redial the original number.

It’s worth a try though!

Summary:

Don’t call 08X (apart from 080) numbers from your mobile. Use an alternate service.

 Mobile call0800 busterBT SmartTalk / LandlineSaynoto0870
03XXYesn/aYes (if included in your landline plan)No
0845 / 0870Non/aYes (if included in your landline plan)If available
0808 / 0800 (freefone)Yesn/aYesn/a
0500 freefoneNoYesYesIf available
Other 08XXNon/aYes (it's probably cheaper than your mobile)If available