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Ofcom demands greater cuts to line rental charges

Looking after the pennies

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The cost of renting a fixed phone line in the UK could fall by a few pence a month following the intervention of regulator Ofcom.

It wants the cost of Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) - which enables telcos to invoice customers for line rental and phone charges on the same bill, as opposed to having to pay for calls and line rental separately - to fall from January when it becomes the responsibility of BT's new access services division Openreach.

In August, BT reduced the residential WLR charge from £9.24 a month to £8.74 a month, but clearly Ofcom doesn't believe the UK's dominant fixed line telco is being generous enough.

The regulator has proposed that residential WLR drops from £9.24 a month to £8.39 a month, while it expects business WLR to fall from £9.95 a month to £9.17 a month.

In a statement the regulator said: "Ofcom's proposed changes aim to support the continued growth of competition in this market. Ofcom believes that over time, more choice of supplier and more services offered via a single bill will increase value for money for consumers and businesses."

Last month, Ofcom decided that WLR - which is essential if rival telcos are to compete on an equal footing with BT - should now be passed "fit for purpose" even though it's taken BT two and a half years to get it right. ®

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