BT customers who are only paying for a landline telephone service can look forward to a fall in their monthly bills, under plans laid out by Ofcom.
Following the telecoms regulator’s market review, BT's line rental costs for landline-only customers look set be cut by at least £5 per month - or £60 per year.
BT customers who are paying £18.99 per month for a landline-only contract would see their monthly bill fall to £13.99.
Of the 2.9m landline-only customers in the UK million between 2.1million and 2.3 million are with BT. Around half of those BT customers take broadband from another supplier, so could likely cut their outgoings by taking broadband from BT too.
BT said that of the remainder, the majority are on its money-saving BT’s Basic or Home Phone Saver tariffs.
Aimed at low-income or vulnerable customers, the Basic tariff is priced £5.10 per month and includes line rental and calls.
According to Ofcom, the mooted reduction would take prices to where they were in real terms back in 2009, in other words "effectively reversing" price hikes for landline-only customers.
Sharon White, Chief Executive of Ofcom, said: "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.”
Ofcom pointed out that offers for landline-only customers have become increasingly limited, as many providers have completely withdrawn their telephone-only products in the last few years.
The situation is very different for customers of bundled services, which include extras such as broadband and pay TV alongside a landline, as they can benefit "from a range of attractive deals, driven by strong competition".
BT has responded by insisting that it takes its responsibilities in this area "very seriously".
BT stated: “We will respond to Ofcom’s consultation fully when we have considered the detail. We take our responsibilities in this area very seriously and, unlike other companies, have many customers on special tariffs for socially excluded or vulnerable customers, including BT Basic, which still costs just £5.10 a month for line rental and calls, and Home Phone Saver.
“Recently, we have frozen the cost of line rental for all of our customers who take a BT phone line."
BT also stressed that it has taken steps to offer a better service to customers, with recent measures including bringing call centre work back to the UK and investing heavily in a faster fault repair service.