Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/04/30/onetel_bt_telecos/

One.Tel in free calls offer

Telco price war erupts

By Tim Richardson

Posted in Broadband, 30th April 2004 11:43 GMT

The price war in the UK's fixed line telco market has intensified after One.Tel announced free weekend voice calls for its Standard UKTalk punters.

From 10 May, One.Tel is to cut tariffs for its fixed line phone business so that its punters can enjoy "truly jaw-dropping prices across all their fixed line packages".

With no monthly fee for its Standard UKTalk, punters can make free local and national calls all weekend without paying a bean. The telco has also cut the cost of its Leisure UKTalk tariff from £5.99 to £3.99 per month, which provides users with unlimited weekend and evening local and national calls.

The cost of its Total UKTalk price plan is cut from £14.99 to £10.99 with unlimited local and national calls all day, everyday.

In a dig at rivals, One.Tel's MD Ian El Mokadem said: "With competitors muddying the waters with confusing and misleading offers, we felt that the time was right to once again set ourselves apart from the rest with a range of new landline prices.

"Not only do we guarantee that customers will save money by coming to One.Tel - we'll give them a year's free calls to UK land lines if they don't make a saving."

One.Tel is part of Centrica Telecommunications with around 1.5m fixed, mobile and Internet customers.

Last month The Carphone Warehouse - Europe's biggest mobile phone retailer - announced plans to offer free calls between its residential customers on its TalkTalk plan. It reckons the lure of free calls will prompt groups of people such as families and friends to sign up to the offer.

Only days before Carphone's announcement, BT unveiled plans to scrap its standard rate in a move it said would simplify its tariff structure and make its service even better value for money for its customers. But the move was attacked by rivals and led communications Ofcom to launch an "urgent" investigation into allegations that its new phone tariffs are anti-competitive.

An interim ruling was due by the end of April but it's now understood that Ofcom will publish its decision next week. ®

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