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Oftel takes aim at Vodafone and BT Cellnet

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Oftel is to put pressure on the UK's two biggest mobile operators, Vodafone and BT Cellnet, to make sure the market remains competitive. The watchdog will see that both companies continue to provide airtime to competitors, publish charges and terms and conditions, and produce accounts for each service they offer. David Edmonds, Oftel's director general, said the measures were aimed at getting the best deal for consumers as the mobile market continues to grow. Vodafone and BT Cellnet are able to influence the market to their own ends, Edmonds said. The Oftel proposals therefore hope to ensure providers compete solely on price and quality. Mike Caldwell, Vodafone corporate commerce director, said Oftel's announcement simply restated the status quo. "It will not have any effect on us. We already do all the things mentioned and I expect BT Cellnet does too," he said. The mobile market is expected to hot up as third-generation, Internet-enabled devices are released next year. The government announced the bidding framework for the five available licences earlier this week. ®

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