BT bows to Ofcom pressure slashing landline bills

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The regulatory body said it will take action “if BT fails to honour its agreement”

BT has announced it will cut the cost of landline contracts by 37 per cent amid pressure from Ofcom.

The telecoms giant made the announcement today (Oct 26). From April up to one million landline-only customers will see monthly bills slash between £5 and £7 from the current rate of £18.99.

The regulatory body promised to take action “if BT fails to honour its agreement, Ofcom will step in.” A punishment was not specified.

Customers are looking at a saving of £84 a year and will see protection from price rises as rental costs are capped at the rate of inflation.

The announcement was made after Ofcom launched a competition review of the telephone industry in December last year. It found landline-only customers were not getting value for money compared customers who purchase bundles with TV or broadband services.

Over two-thirds (66pc) of BT’s landline-only customers are over 65, about 77pc of that figure have never switched to cheaper providers. Ofcom said it was concerned that telephone line rental prices have risen, despite wholesale costs falling”.

Around 800,000 customers will see the price cut automatically on bills.

Listened to concerns

BT said in a statement: “We welcome a balanced voluntary agreement with Ofcom which means that up to one million of our customers who don’t have broadband will receive a substantial cut in the price of their line rental from April 2018.

“We have listened to the concerns of our line-only customers and agreed to reduce the price of line rental for them by £7 a month, which means they will only pay £11.99 a month for standard line rental.”

Ofcom competition group director Jonathan Oxley added: “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.

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