Review of the market for standalone landline telephone services

  • Start: 28 February 2017
  • Status: Open
  • End: 09 May 2017

We are consulting on our review of the retail market for standalone landline telephone services; that is, the sale of telephone services to those people who buy such services in a standalone contract and not as part of a bundle with other services such as broadband or pay TV. This affects around 2.9 million households in the UK.

The review was prompted by concerns over rapidly rising prices for these services, despite falling wholesale costs, suggesting that these customers have not benefited from competition in the same way as those buying bundles.

We consider whether we can define a distinct market for such services, and whether in this market there are companies with significant market power, i.e. they are able to act without sufficient constraint from competitors.

We provisionally conclude that there is a distinct market, with BT holding significant market power, and we set our proposal to address this.

Under our proposals the price cut of £5-7 per month would automatically apply to all BT customers that take a landline without taking it as part of a bundle with broadband or other services.

In the useful information section on this page, you can find links to areas of our website where we provide more information about how to choose the best type of tariff, how to switch provider as well as more information about this consultation.

This review focuses on the standard contracts for standalone telephone services where we have concerns over the costs to consumers of these products. However, some customers might be eligible for and better off using the social tariffs that are available to those on low incomes and with special social need. BT Basic provides line rental for £5.10 a month to those in recipient of certain social benefits, and Kcom’s Social Access Package is a similar service available to people in Kingston upon Hull. To check if you or the person you are responding on behalf of are eligible, please visit the website for BT Basic or KCom Social Access Package.

If you wish to engage with us on other aspects of telecoms services, such as broadband availability or quality of service please contact our Consumer Contact Team from 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday by calling 0300 123 3333 or 020 7981 3040

We will take all responses to this consultation into account before reaching our final conclusions which we plan to publish in a statement at the turn of the year.

Update 25 April 2017

We have launched an additional consultation that sets out our further proposals for the financial reporting requirements that BT will need to follow in relation to these retail standalone landline telephone services.

Managing your landline costs: How to choose the best type of tariff for you, including specific advice for people on low incomes.

Switching landline provider: This guide explains what you need to do if you want to switch your landline to a new provider

BT's landline-only customers set for cheaper bills: Article explaining the review of the market for standalone landline telephone services

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