Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Budget Your Home Phone Service

Bundle Your Home Phone with Other Services

One of the easiest ways to keep your home phone bill down is to bundle it with other services. In recent years, telephone companies have branched out from basic phone service, adding cell phone plans, high-speed Internet and cable television to their portfolios. For obvious reasons, those companies want you to subscribe to as many of their services as possible, and many of them offer incentives to customers that do so. Bundling two or more services is likely to save you money, especially if you already subscribe to those services separately, and it can also streamline your monthly accounting and bill payment.

Up until a few years ago, if you wanted to order DSL Internet service from AT&T, you had to get it bundled with home phone service. Then in 2007, the Federal Communications Commission ordered AT&T to start providing stand-alone DSL (also known as "naked DSL") [source: Soghoian]. Even though you no longer have to subscribe to AT&T's home phone service to get its DSL Internet service, AT&T is still one of the major players in the bundling business. The company has partnered with satellite TV provider DirecTV to offer bundles that include home phone, cell phone, TV and high-speed DSL Internet, at a slightly lower price than the sum of each of the components would cost if they were purchased separately.

Cable television companies have also branched out in recent years, providing high-speed Internet and digital voice service. Meanwhile, traditional phone companies have teamed up with satellite TV providers for bundles of their own. Bundle deals range from "triple play" deals, which include home phone service, cable or satellite TV, and high-speed Internet, to a variety of combinations of any two services. Beginning in the 2000s, cable giants like Comcast and Time Warner jumped into the home phone business, adding digital home phone service to their bundle options. For more on Internet telephony, keep reading.