Commenting on Ofcom’s review of the retail market for standalone landline telephone services, Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at uSwitch.com, says: Landlines are a lifeline, but for those who don’t want broadband – often the most vulnerable – the prospect of ever-increasing line rental charges still looms.
“The ASA’s reforms to require all-in costs for landline and broadband services should help matters by putting more competitive pressure on the providers. They now have greater incentive to compete on line rental as well as broadband pricing to make their combined costs appear more attractive.
“Reviewing landline-only pricing with its competition hat on will be seen as a bold move by Ofcom, but it’s a necessary one to ensure the most vulnerable are getting a fair deal.
“In addition to Ofcom’s review of line rental pricing, we would like to see the regulator take a close look at whether BT Basic is fit for purpose for vulnerable, elderly and low-income households.
“Ofcom currently requires BT to provide BT Basic – the telecoms equivalent of the Warm Home Discount for energy – as a condition of its historic monopoly. However, customers would only have to use their landlines for 148 minutes a month for a standard landline tariff to be more affordable than BT Basic.”
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