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BT to Continue Discount for Landline Only UK Phone Users

Thursday, December 10th, 2020 (10:38 am) - Score 8,232
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ISP BT has voluntarily proposed to Ofcom that the protection it handed to UK consumers who take their landline-only phone service in 2018 (i.e. lines without broadband), which among other things cut the monthly rental from £18.99 to £11.99, should be continued for a further 5 years. We can’t see that being rejected.

The previous change followed the regulator’s review of the market, which found that landline-only customers had been “getting poor value for money compared to those who buy bundles of landline, broadband and/or pay-TV services.”

At the time BT responded by reducing the line rental charge for related users, while at the same time capping any subsequent overall increases to line rental and call charges to inflation for three years (here). But this comes to an end in March 2021 and BT has thus provided a new commitment to continue this protection for a further 5 years.

Ofcom has launched a brief consultation on this, which will close on 21st January 2021 and a final decision is then due to follow in March 2021, although the regulator has already proposed to accept the commitment and indeed, we think it’s highly unlikely to ever be rejected.

Summary of the Proposal

The commitments BT has offered, which we propose to accept, are:

• Continue with an inflation-linked control (CPI+0%) on the basket of line rental and call charges for voice-only products. We believe a continuation of prices which remain flat in real terms is a proportionate, clear and timely way to continue to protect consumers. BT has also committed to an annual CPI+0% limit on prices for its Home Phone Saver product and a safeguard cap of CPI+2.5% for its line rental product

• Commitment duration of five years. This will provide certainty for customers for the next five years and allow us to reassess the right protections once the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) switch-off has taken place, which is scheduled to be completed by December 2025

• Commitments apply to all voice-only products and services taken by customers, regardless of the technology used to deliver the service. This will ensure that customers are protected, irrespective of the technology used to deliver the service. We think this is particularly important as customers are migrated to different technologies – such as as ‘voice over internet protocol’ (VoIP) – as a result of PSTN switch-off

• Commitments also apply to any new products or services introduced throughout the 5-year commitment period that are offered on a voice-only basis

• BT to provide information to Ofcom on its compliance with the commitments on an annual basis. Compliance is an important part of monitoring voluntary commitments. BT will provide Ofcom with an externally-audited annual compliance statement. It will also publish an annual compliance statement on its website.

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. A_Builder says:

    A strange thing to do if you are getting rid of copper and exchange/voice.

    Surely it should have been “we will honour this for a further 5 years where the customer shifts to our new VoIP over DSL products”

    Now that would have made sense.

    At the pace things are moving with the roll out of FTTP any migrations away from any exchange copper need to be speeded up and any means of speeding the migration to all the lovely new FTTP that is going in are to be encouraged.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      The commitment is somewhat technology neutral, since there will be an FTTP based voice-only product (VoIP) for those who need it too. The alternative of attaching a huge price increase to an already difficult migration wouldn’t have gone down well with landline-only users (we’re talking a lot of pensioners in this group). See Ofcom’s statement.

  2. chris conder says:

    Most youngsters I know on BT don’t even know their landline number, they just use mobiles. For those who simply have a landline it should be at a reduced rate, as it is used to clawback revenue from people who want broadband through the line. Many people on altnet fibre still want to keep a landline for incomming calls, and this move makes it more affordable. nice one. It should actually be even cheaper than this as the infrastructure has been paid for many times over…

  3. G_Dog says:

    I’ve always thought it is a shame that they didn’t offer this to people like me who have an independent ISP (Aquiss) but pay almost £30 a month for BT line rental on-top. In fact, recently my land-line rental has overtaken the cost of the FTTC broadband! (we do have a couple of extras like 1571 etc.)

    I’m not getting any bundled savings, but because I do have broadband through the line I’m not eligible for the discount. “The discount is only intended to apply to BT landline customers who don’t buy fixed line broadband from any provider”.

    Never quite understood why.

  4. MJ says:

    I Pay Line Rental Saver to BT for ‘one month free’.
    Landline rental prices are quoted at £20.20pm for Broadband customers.
    However, IF Line rental is actually circa £11.99 for landline only customers, it means that BT are hiking the prices for Broadband customers who use a landline also.
    Why should a landline cost more for a customer who uses broadband , than it does for a customer who uses the landline only ?

    I can see another class action in the making here.

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