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UPD UK Consumer Frustration as BT Hikes the Price of Line Rental and Calls Again

Posted: 27th Aug, 2011 By: MarkJ
pound signbtConsumers, many of whom are already suffering due to the continuing economic problems, will be shocked to learn that BT is set to raise its standard UK phone line rental and call charges for a second time on 3rd December 2011. That's on top of a 10% rise last year and the 9% rise in April 2011.

One small consolation prize has been given. BT has announced that its prices will now be frozen until 2013, which could feel like bittersweet news after the last two years of successive price hikes.
BT Standard Line Rental
Current: £13.90 a month
New Price: £14.60 a month


BT Daytime UK Call Rates
Current: 7.6p a minute
New Price: 7.95p a minute


BT Evening UK Call Rates
Current: 1p a minute
New Price: 1.05p a minute


BT Call Connection Fee
Current: 12.5p per call
New Price: 13.1p per call
The hikes risk fuelling a growing belief that the cost of line rental, outside of heavily discounted bundles, is fast becoming prohibitively expensive and could cause more consumers to go the mobile-only rout. Consumers who only use their fixed line for broadband often question the value of paying line rental, especially given the huge fees that can be levied for fixing faults.

BT claims that its prices are lower than those charged by rival broadband ISPs and telecoms operators, although this is frequently only true of bundled packages; many people use a different ISP for broadband and thus do not take a BT bundle. As usual BT's effort appears designed to make their latest bundles and longer contract deals seem more attractive.

It's perhaps no coincidence that the surprise hike follows a demand by Ofcom in July 2011 for BT to cut its broadband prices to Market 1 (rural areas) by 12% below inflation (here). At the time we suggested that BT often reacts by raising prices elsewhere instead.

UPDATE 30th August 2011

Both ICUK and ADSL24 have informed us that they have no plans to pass the rise in line rental onto customers and others will not pass on the connection fee hike either. We suspect that a number of smaller ISPs will follow by that example.

Sadly it's now become quite normal for the biggest providers, such as TalkTalk and Virgin Media UK, to match BT's price rises with similar hikes of their own. So expect to see confirmation of that in the near future.
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