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Carphone's 'free' broadband just a 'marketing ploy'

War of words begins

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BT has brushed off Carphone Warehouse's "free" broadband offer calling it a "clever marketing ploy from a clever marketing team".

Earlier today, Carphone released details of a new phone and broadband combo, which it says is up to 60 per cent cheaper than similar packages offered by the UK's leading telcos and ISPs. For £21 a month including line rental, punters get inclusive landline calls and broadband at up to 8 meg.

The Carphone Warehouse reckons its new broadband bundle, which will be made available as the retailer-cum-telco invests in local loop unbundling, could save people up to £400 a year.

"For too long the British public has been charged costly fees for high-speed internet access, or has had to use slow internet connections. We are bringing this to an end," chief exec Charles Dunstone said.

"High speed internet will now become a standard service in the home - just like radio or television. The change this represents for society is huge. This is the tipping point."

While it's still unclear whether today's announcement will kick start a much talked about price war, the war of words has already begun.

"The broadband market in the UK is the most competitive in the world and this offer from Carphone is yet one more offer in what is already a crowded market," BT Retail consumer division COO John Petter said.

"As for this being 'free' broadband, it is only 'free' if you pay them hundreds of pounds a year for other services. We'd advise people to take a careful look at the small print as there are plenty of extra costs." ®

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