BT is being forced to cut the price of landline-only tariffs by £5 per month in order to provide better value for money.
Telecoms regulator Ofcom has imposed the decrease in order to assist customers, often elderly or vulnerable, who rely on a landline telephone service and have never shopped around for a better deal.
“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,” said Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive.
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Customers on a landline-only tariff, which currently costs £18.99 per month, will now pay £13.99 a month and Ofcom is confident the move will push BT’s competitors to follow suit.
BT has responded to Ofcom’s request by stating that it takes its responsibilities “very seriously” and has plenty of special tariffs for “socially excluded or vulnerable customers”.
Landline prices have shot up in recent years, all of the major players increasing the cost by between 25% and 49% in real terms.
Even though BT froze the price of line rental in January, it did increase the cost of calls by 1p per minute to mobile and landlines. It means landline calls now cost 12p and mobile calls 16p.
As part of the release, Ofcom explained that it also wants BT to try new approaches to communicating with landline-only customers. This is to make sure consumers know what the service costs and how packages from BT or other firms can offer better value for money.
There are 2.9 million landline-only customers in the UK and close to 80% (2.3 million) of them are with BT. However, that’s less than half of the almost five million people who rely on a landline to run their BT broadband connection.
Most of those customers take out bundled packages that include a landline, broadband and/or pay TV, and there will be no change to what they pay for the service.
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Do you think BT is doing enough to help landline-only customers? Let us know in the comments below.