British telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced plans to review the retail market for standalone landline telephone services. Ofcom noted that while it felt overall competition in the telecommunications sector remains strong, it said it was concerned that ‘people who buy landline services on their own are not being served well by the market’. According to the watchdog, its analysis has shown that all of the UK’s major landline providers have increased their line rental charges significantly in recent years – by between 28% and 41% in real terms – despite benefitting from an approximate 25% fall in the underlying wholesale cost of providing a landline service. The regulator said it expects to publish a consultation on the matter in early 2017.
Ofcom’s announcement was made within a consultation covering its separate review of the wholesale markets that underpin fixed voice services in the UK. This consultation, which closes on 28 February 2017 and aims to finalise regulation which will apply from 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2020, is examining the following markets: wholesale exchange lines, ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), call origination and call termination.