BT will pilot a range of phone box tariffs in a scheme which could result in new national rates.
The telecoms giant has been granted permission to test-run new phone box prices in limited areas of the UK over the next three years.
It said the aim was to increase phone box usage via lower charges – but could not rule out price hikes.
BT, which runs 62,700 of the UK’s public pay phones, says its phone box revenues have plummeted by nearly 50 per cent over the past three years.
Ofcom has granted BT consent to trial new prices in limited geographic areas until June 2010, subject to certain conditions.
The telecoms regulator has imposed a cap on the duration of the trials and the number of phone boxes which may be affected.
At the end of each trial the new tariff must either be rolled out nationally or else the previous charges must be reinstated in the pilot area.
Under current rules, BT has to provide uniform charges for all the phone boxes it operates in the UK.
The firm welcomed Ofcom’s consent for it to carry out geographic public pay phone pricing trials over the next three years.
A BT spokesman said: ‘BT Payphone revenues have declined by nearly 50 per cent over the last three years.
‘The ability to conduct geographic price trials from time to time will enable BT to assess how consumers respond to new prices and whether the use of public pay phones can be stimulated.
‘Successful trials could lead to new national prices for public pay phones.’
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