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Ofcom scraps UK retail fixed-line regulations

16 сентября 2009

Ofcom on Tuesday removed one of the last remaining regulations in the retail fixed-line market, a move it claims will boost competition in the U.K. telecoms sector.

The watchdog's decision, proposed initially in March, enables BT for the first time to offer discounted fixed-line calls as part of its bundles, which also include fixed broadband and its BT Vision IPTV service.

The U.K. incumbent welcomed the deregulation, which it said will allow it to compete more effectively.

"This will allow BT to offer more targeted discounts on products and services and more attractive bundles at better prices, something we have been unable to offer widely to date," said BT, in a statement emailed to Total Telecom.

"It means that BT will be competing on a more level playing field than previously," said the telco.

BT said it plans to roll out new bundle offers in the near future.

Ofcom said it chose to deregulate after it deemed that BT no longer has "significant market power" in the majority of the U.K. retail landline markets – despite protests from some of the operator's competitors, which argued to the contrary.

"Other providers – such as Virgin Media, BSkyB and TalkTalk – provide effective competition to BT in this part of the market... More than 12 million U.K. households and small businesses use a telecoms provider other than BT," said Ofcom.

"Empirical evidence demonstrates that ease of competitive entry, lack of barriers to growth, access to wholesale services and customer awareness of choice has substantially changed the nature of retail competition in these markets in the last few years," commented the regulator.

Ofcom said 46% of U.K. consumers bought a bundle of two or more services in 2008, up from 29% in 2005; meanwhile it said around 47% of consumers intend to purchase bundled services in the near future.

"Competition has also delivered lower prices," said Ofcom.

The watchdog noted in its 2009 communications market report that increasing competition has driven down the average monthly cost of residential fixed-line calls to £21.57, from £25,04 in 2003.

 

Источник: Total Telecom

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