BT has upped the price of its least expensive line rental for the third time in just a year, making its upfront-payment plan the most expensive among those offered by major providers – £50 more than the cheapest offering.

The telecoms giant upped the price of its cheapest line rental, which is where you get a lower price by paying upfront for the whole year rather than paying monthly, by nearly £15 on 10 May. See our Cheap Home Phones guide for our best buys, including line-rental only deals from £11/month.

It takes the price from £169.90/year (equivalent of £14.16/month) to £183.48/year (equivalent to £15.29/month).

This is the third increase BT has made to its upfront line rental since last year. It last increased prices on 1 December 2014, when the price rose from £159.84/year (equivalent of £13.32/month). Prior to that, the price rocketed from £141 on 5 May last year.

BT says no other packages are affected by its latest hike.

Who's affected by the price rise?

The new price came into effect on 10 May, which means BT customers who signed up and paid for upfront line rental before this date won't be affected unless they decide to renew, in which case they will need to choose between paying the new rate and switching.

How does BT's line rental compare?

Paying upfront is usually the cheapest way to get line rental. However, it doesn't mean an upfront deal is necessarily the cheapest overall package for you. This will depend on whether you're also after inclusive calls, broadband and digital TV. See our Cheap Home Phones and Cheap Broadband guides for the top deals.

Also, there is a risk of losing your cash if the provider goes bust, but the risk is bigger with smaller companies. However, if you are after line rental, the table below shows how much the major providers charge.

Line rental costs compared

Provider Upfront line rental cost Monthly line rental cost Inclusive calls? Annual saving vs paying monthly
BT £183.48 (equiv £15.29/mth) £16.99 Yes, weekend £20.40
TalkTalk £180.36 (equiv £15.03/mth) £16.70 None £19.20
Plusnet £155.88 (equiv £12.99/mth) £15.95 None £35.52
Virgin Media £164 (equiv £13.67/mth) £16.99 Yes, weekend £39.88
EE £132 (equiv £11/mth) £15.75 Yes, weekend £57
Post Office £144 (equiv £12/mth) £15 Yes, weekend £36
(i) Sky has not been included in the comparison table as it hasn't offered upfront line rental since Dec 13. Its monthly line rental costs £16.40/month.

What does BT say?

A spokesperson for BT says: "Customers who take Line Rental Saver can save £20.40 a year against BT standard line rental.

"Line Rental Saver has proved popular with BT customers and existing customers are not affected by this change until their current deal expires. The new deal still offers a discount for customers paying upfront."