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Carphone loses broadband price cut battle

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The Carphone Warehouse has failed in its bid to force BT to slash the cost of migrating fully unbundled broadband lines in bulk. The decision by Ofcom means that Carphone will have to shell out more cash to migrate each fully unbundled line than it had hoped, adding to its overheads.

Earlier this year, Opal Telecom (part of Carphone Warehouse) called on Ofcom to resolve a dispute concerning the maximum charge BT can make for the bulk migration of fully unbundled (MPF) and shared access (SMPF) lines.

Fully unbundled lines are where the LLU operator takes full control of a phone line to a home or business providing both a broadband and phone service. Shared access is where the LLU operator provides the broadband connection, but the phone service remains hooked up to BT's network.

In the case of both MPF and SMPF, the maximum amount BT is allowed to charge operators for migrating individual lines in bulk is £34.86 per line.

But in May last year BT Wholesale announced a special promo of £20 per line for the mass migration of shared lines (SMPF). But when the giant telco refuse to match the price for fully unbundled lines Carphone took its complaint to Ofcom.

In its "draft determination" to try and resolve the dispute, published last month, Ofcom ruled that the maximum charge BT should impose for the bulk migration of fully unbundled lines should be £29.06.

In its final word on the subject published recently the regulator reduced the ceiling still further to £27.54. Although it's slightly better news for Carphone, it's still way-off the £20 a throw cost that it wanted.

A spokeswoman for Carphone insisted that it was a "good result" and that the firm was "happy with the outcome". ®

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