Customers that take only a fixed line voice service from British fixed line incumbent BT are set to see their bills fall, following a review by local telecoms regulator Ofcom. In a press release Ofcom confirmed that the monthly cost for landline-only subscribers is to be reduced by GBP7 (USD9.2) per month, having concluded that such users have ‘been getting poor value for money in recent years, compared to those who buy bundles of landline, broadband and/or pay-TV services’.
The watchdog conducted its review after growing concerned that telephone line rental prices had risen, despite wholesale costs falling. Now it has set out firm proposals to cut monthly bills for BT’s landline-only customers by between GBP5 and GBP7. In response, BT agreed to its proposal in full and will reduce its monthly line rental price by the larger amount from April 2018. Around 800,000 landline-only customers will automatically benefit from the price change, and will in the future be protected from real-term price increases, with line rental and call costs capped at the rate of inflation. Meanwhile, a further 200,000 customers on BT’s ‘Home Phone Saver’ package will also be eligible, and will be able to choose to stay on their current package, or move to the standard product being cut, depending on which is the best deal for them.
Commenting on the matter, Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom’s Competition Group Director, said: ‘For many people, their landline is their lifeline … But households who only have a landline – and no broadband – have seen their phone bills soar. Many are elderly, and have been with BT for decades. We’ve been clear that they must get a better deal. So I’m pleased BT has responded to our plans in full by cutting these customers’ bills.’