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Phone war breaks out as One-2-One takes on BT

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One-2-One has chopped call rates by up to two-thirds, targetting BT in an all-out price war. Last night’s move saw the mobile phone operator planning to cut off-peak charges to 2p a minute nationwide. This will make it cheaper than BT – which charges 4p per minute for long-distance evening calls. One2One, the UK’s fourth largest cellular phone company, also slashed peak rate tariffs from 30p to 10p per minute. But its £15 monthly charge remains steeper than BT’s. Analysts said the moves, effective at the end of this month, will make One-2-One the cheapest UK network, according to today’s Financial Times. The company, jointly owned by Cable & Wireless and MediaOne, will boast charges 20 per cent lower than rival mobile operators Cellnet, Orange and Vodafone. Orange said it would very likely match the cheap tariffs, but One-2-One said competing with mobile rivals was not behind the decision. "They may follow us in these moves, but our main target is BT," said Tim Samples, One-2-One MD. The company is introducing a flat tariff for contract and pre-paid phone customers alike, and scrapping differences between local and national calls. ®

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