BT free to offer better phone and broadband dealsEasing of rules may boost choice and cut prices
15 September 2009
BT will be free to offer discounted phone, TV and broadband bundles for the first time, following phone watchdog Ofcom's decision to remove one of the last pieces of regulation in the retail fixed-line telephone market.
Until today, the types of phone, broadband and TV bundle that BT has been able to offer have been restricted by Ofcom because BT was deemed to have 'significant market power' within the UK landline market.
But over the last few years a large number of phone providers have entered the telephone market, and Ofcom has now concluded that other providers - such as Virgin Media, Sky and TalkTalk - provide effective competition to BT in this part of the market.
BT welcomes Ofcom's statement
A BT spokesperson welcomed the change, saying: 'BT will be competing on a more level playing field than previously.
'It’s good news for consumers and businesses as this will allow BT to offer more targeted discounts on products and services and more attractive bundles at better prices, something we have been unable to offer widely to date.'
See how BT compares to its competitors and Which? Best Buys for customer satisfaction using the Which? review of phone, internet and TV packages.
Are new BT bundles on the cards?
Which? phone and broadband expert Ceri Stanaway says: 'BT is currently one of the most expensive bundle providers around on a like for like basis, compared to competitors like Sky and TalkTalk, so we hope BT lives up to its promise of "more attractive bundles at better prices".
'BT told us it plans to reveal a new range of phone, TV and broadband bundles in the near future, so if you're on the verge of tying yourself in to a new long term contract with BT - or indeed anyone else - it might be worth holding on to see what surprises BT has in store.
'As always, though, if you're thinking of making the switch to a new bundle, don't be swayed by headline price alone - check that each element of the bundle is right for your needs and use the Which? review of phone, internet and TV packages to ensure the company's level of service meets your exacting requirements.'
A change from existing BT bundles
BT already offers joint phone, TV and broadband packages to its customers, such as BT's 'Starter' package which includes BT Broadband Option 1, unlimited weekend and evening calls and on-demand TV for £30.33 a month (plus £11.25 phone line rental).
However BT told Which? that such bundles essentially just combine individual broadband, phone and TV products together into one package without giving a discount for taking several services together.
Previously BT has been prohibited from offering big discounts in exchange for buying several services together, although other phone, broadband and TV providers have been free to do so such as the 'free broadband' offered by Sky in exchange for taking out a Sky TV subscription.
The Which? guide to Free TV and pay TV services has more on Sky and other digital TV options and Which? also has heaps of reviews of the best LCD and Plasma TVs and Freeview and Freesat set top boxes money can buy.
If you're not in the market for a bundle but fancy a new broadband deal, the Which? broadband review highlights a range of standalone broadband deals to suit every budget.
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