Opinion Articles

Monday, March 21, 2011

BT increases fixed-line charges as Mobile Termination Rates fall

Mark Bridge writes:

The Terminate The Rate campaign has pretty much run its course. Its aim was to get Mobile Termination Rates reduced. These are the wholesale charges paid when a mobile or fixed-line network connects a call from one of its customers to a rival. Lower MTRs would mean better deals on call charges, the campaign argued.

With Ofcom’s recent announcement that MTRs were going to fall pretty dramatically over the next few years, the campaign is as good as done. I’ll admit to a bit of cynicism when the campaign launched, not least because the European Commission was arguing for the same thing.

The two campaign champions were BT and Three UK. “BT and 3 are working together on a petition that will lower your phone bill by reducing the level of Mobile Termination Rates”. Three, despite having benefited from high MTRs in the past, now wanted them cut. It promised better tariff deals - and, to its credit, it’s delivered.

BT, however, doesn’t appear to be acting so positively. Last year it talked about the benefits of reducing mobile termination rates, saying it would pass the benefit of reduced MTRs onto its customers… but this week, less than a fortnight before UK termination rates drop by over a third, it’s increasing its call charges.

Yes, increasing. The Guardian reports that BT’s UK call charges are going up by 9% at the end of April, with line rental also rising. Millions of consumers will be affected, says The Telegraph.

Hmmm. Perhaps my cynicism about the Terminate The Rate campaign wasn’t quite so misplaced after all. Well done, Three UK. BT, you’ve got some explaining to do.

Author: The Fonecast
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Categories: Networks and operators, OpinionNumber of views: 4920

Tags: uk three mtr bt tariff

4 comments on article "BT increases fixed-line charges as Mobile Termination Rates fall"

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3/22/2011 2:04 PM

BT's press office has called me to point out that its call charge increases were put in place before Ofcom's MTR decision - and that BT has recently confirmed its commitment to providing cheaper landline calls to mobiles. A further BT announcement about fixed-to-mobile call charges is expected in the next few months.

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3/22/2011 7:59 PM

There's more to BT's price changes than simply offsetting their "mobile terminating" losses. Lets be accurate here - none of the providers have to reduce their prices, their costs are just reduced - so their margins are all higher. As with all markets dominated by a single principal organisation everybody else will sit and watch what BT does. If, as expected, BT slash prices and start bundling calls in their packages we can expect smaller resellers to struggle to compete effectively where Mobile calls account for 30% of their total revenue.

BT have raised their prices 5, 6 times now in the last two years alone. When you couple in their removal of the £1.25 discount for non-paper billing last year (re-iterated this year) their package costs have increased by close to £3, whilst their calls have added 3p in connection fee alone, and 2 to 3p on UK Landline calls outside of their packages.

Much like their "free connection" scam (the one that requires to make 10 calls every month in order to avoid a £5 penalty fee for an unspecified period of time) BT actively misleading with their literature.

That they can continue to sell their products advertising their current rates in the knowledge that they are going to be instituting changes so profound to their billing is the icing on the cake.

That they have the gall to then attack TalkTalk (along with their Plusnet lackey) for a particular advertising technique that was undeniably accurate unless by contortion you specifically ignored BT's unavoidable billing charge that would allow them to proclaim their Line Rental was but £10 a month....no it's not BT. It's £11.25. The adjudication from the ASA is linked in my profile for those interested in the blatant lies BT had to tell, not least the simple fact that only one form if discount can be taken with any single BT product.

If you want to see how insincere Plusnet are about their product, just check out their broadband comparison system and observe how TalkTalk are "hiidden" on a seperate pop-up to conceal the clear "value" disparity.

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4/4/2011 5:07 PM

Theres just something about bt that i just dont trust there, there are always hidden charges somewhere.

how long will it be untill we dont even need lines with the way the mobile phone industry is going surely sooner or later everything will be done by mobile, you'll just have a house phone with a simcard.

i think this is probably why bt are putting in fiber optic cable because they know that line rental can last forever, and as virgine dont charge you any line rental for the optic line then they wont beable to charg us there :D

i would start on three but it just too easy although they have opened call centers in the uk i still manage to talk to some one in pakistan.

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The Fonecast

5/24/2011 7:41 PM

BT has announced it's cutting fixed-to-mobile charges from 28th May - and is planning an "unlimited" tariff for mobile calls as well. bit.ly/lcSjsP

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