Mobile phone chain Carphone Warehouse has confirmed it will offer ‘free’ high-speed internet access to its landline customers.
The company said subscribers to its Talk Talk fixed-line service would receive free broadband as part of a package that includes UK and international phone calls.
It follows days of speculation that the mobile phone company was about to enter the broadband market.
Talk 3 International
The deal, called Talk 3 International, costs GBP 9.99 a month although customers still have to pay a monthly line rental charge of GBP 11. There is also a one-off connection charge of GBP 29.99.
The calls package includes unlimited local and national calls to any landline in the UK, unlimited international landline calls to 28 countries – including the EU and the US – and 8Mb broadband.
Industry experts say the move is a direct challenge to BT, which has 2.3 million retail customers with high-speed internet access, and also to cable giant NTL.
Currently 2.6 million people are signed up to the Talk Talk service and Carphone Warehouse hopes this will increase to 3.5 million within three years.
Lisa Barber of Computing Which? said: ‘We were promised cheaper broadband after BT opened up its telephone exchanges to new competitors, which is what’s happening here. We’ll be keeping an eye on the market to ensure that lower prices don’t result in lower levels of customer service.’