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BT has been ripping off landline-only customers, says Ofcom

Nic McBride

Nic McBride
Oct 27, 2017

BT’s landline customers have been getting ripped off and will get their future bills cut by about £84 a year.

This follows an Ofcom review, which is set to benefit up to one million of BT’s landline-only customers.


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Ofcom found that landline-only customers were not getting the same value for money compared to those who buy bundles of landline, broadband and/or pay-TV services.

Most landline-only customers were over 65 and had been loyal to BT, never switching provider.

Ofcom competition group director Jonathan Oxley said this was not good enough from BT.

“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."

In response, BT has agreed to reduce its monthly line rental price by £7 - a saving of £84 a year - from April 2018, for landline-only customers.

If BT fails to honour its agreement, Ofcom has said it will step in.

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Who does it affect?

About 800,000 of landline-only customers don’t have to do anything to claim this price cut – it will appear on their bills automatically.

They will then be protected from real-term price increases, with line rental and call costs capped at the rate of inflation.

A further 200,000 customers on BT’s ‘Home Phone Saver’ package will also be eligible, but will have to change deals.

Oxley said he was pleased BT had responded to our plans in full by cutting these customers’ bills.”


Taking advantage of customers

Of the UK’s 1.5 million landline-only customers, two thirds are with BT.

This had allowed BT to increase prices without much risk of losing customers, Ofcom stated.

However, other providers had also done the same.

 Ofcom analysis showed that all major landline providers had increased their line rental charges significantly by between 23% and 47% in recent years.

This was despite providers benefiting from around a 27% fall in cost of providing the service.

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