Landline-only BT customers set for cheaper bills

28 February 2017
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Consumers who take a landline-only telephone service from BT are set to receive at least £5 a month off their bills.

This proposal has been made by regulator Ofcom which is looking at whether consumers who only have landline services are given a poor value deal.

It says that people who do not take a ‘bundled’ package - which includes broadband or TV - are underserved by the current market. These customers are often elderly or vulnerable and are unlikely to switch providers.

Under plans set out by the regulator, these BT customers will see a cut of between £5 and £7 per month from their bills. This would mean that BT customers with just a landline would see their monthly bills fall from £18.99 to £13.99 or less.

 

These changes will only affect BT as it is currently the dominant player in this sector. It has around 80% of the UK’s 2.9 million landline-only consumers using its service.

Ofcom says major providers have all increased the cost of line rental significantly in the last few years, with charges increasing by up to 49% in real terms. But these changes would see the price of line rental return to 2009 levels and are also expected to stimulate further competition in the telecoms market.

This price cut would not apply to landline services sold as part of a bundle though.

A final decision on the plans is expected to be made on these proposals at the start of 2018.

Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive, says: “Line rental has been going up, even as providers’ costs come down. This hurts people who rely on their landline the most, and are less likely to shop around for a better deal. We think that’s unacceptable.

“So we plan to cut BT’s charge for customers who take only a landline, to ensure that vulnerable customers get the value they deserve.”

Millions of BT customers are already set to be hit by an inflation-busting price hike this April. Those price increases will not be affected by these new proposals.

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