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EE has asked for BT to reduce the amount that it charges other phone and broadband providers for use of its line rental, by discounting the cost of the BT Phonebook - a service EE claims that very few customers use or are even aware of.

In a statement to Ofcom, EE claimed that the charges for BT's Phonebook are "unjustified and discriminatory", and are subsequently being passed on to EE's own consumers, even though it is ostensibly a BT service that some EE customers do not need.

In a survey of 2,000 online respondents commissioned by EE to find out how many people actually make use of the Phonebook, it found that 72 per cent usually search for numbers online, when required, with just 17 per cent turning to the Phonebook.

When questioned, 75 per cent of people who have a Phonebook said they are not sure where it is, while 88 per cent said they would not pay for it, given the option.

In its statement, EE noted that every wholesale line rental (WLR) customer has to pay for the BT Phonebook through their line rental charge, which is unavoidable, whether they require the book or not.

"Under the current charge controls, we understand that the amount included for directories in the annual WLR wholesale rental charges for 2013/14 is £2.23 for each WLR customer," EE stated.

"This is significant - for an operator with around 700,000 WLR customers, such as EE, this is an approximate cost of £1.4 million per year."

As such, EE argues that removal of these costs and replacement with a process where Phonebooks are only supplied to customers who actually still require them will allow for re-investment by WLR providers, thereby helping to promote competition within the industry, and ultimately benefiting customers.

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