BT landline-only customers set to get £5 off monthly bills

Telephone

Customers who only buy landline services from BT are set to get at least £5 a month taken off their bills under plans set out by the telecoms regulator, Ofcom.

It said those customers, who are often elderly or vulnerable, were not getting value for money.

BT has nearly 80% of the UK landline market, and Ofcom is hoping other providers will also cut prices.

The telecoms giant said it took its responsibilities “very seriously”.

“Unlike other companies, [we] have many customers on special tariffs for socially excluded or vulnerable customers,” BT said.

“Recently, we have frozen the cost of line rental for all of our customers who take a BT phone line.”

The planned price cut will effectively reverse cost rises seen in recent years, Ofcom said. BT customers, who pay £18.99 per month for a landline-only contract, would pay no more than £13.99.

Media captionOfcom tells Radio 4’s Today of its plans to force BT to cut landline bills by at least £5 a month

The regulator’s chief executive, Sharon White, told the BBC: “We believe there are about two million elderly and vulnerable [BT customers] – strikingly about half are in their late seventies – and for this group of people their landline is their lifeline.

“It’s a group of people who have seen the cost of their landline bills rise by about a third in recent years, while BT’s costs have fallen by about a quarter.”

She said most people on bundled packages – which include landline, broadband and/or pay TV – can shop around for better deals.

BT is not alone in raising its prices. Major industry players have increased line rental prices by between 25% and 49% in real terms in recent years, while wholesale prices have fallen by about 26%, Ofcom said.

The regulator launched its review of landline phone prices in December.

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