Two million people who have landline-only contracts with BT are to have their bills slashed by up to £84 a year.
Ofcom, the telecoms watchdog, ordered the price cut, after it found that BT was charging an ‘unacceptable’ amount for the service, which is a ‘lifeline’ to the elderly and the poor.
Sharon White, Ofcom’s chief executive, said: ‘It’s a tax on loyalty. You’ve got 2 million elderly and vulnerable customers who have basically been with BT for years, very few of whom ever shop around.’
Nearly half of all landline-only telephone customers are aged 75 and over, file photograph
BT is being forced to slash the cost of its landline-only service by at least £5-a-month
Ofcom Chief Executive Sharon White, pictured, described excessive landline-only charges as a 'tax on loyalty' as the elderly and those on lower incomes are less likely to shop around
BT currently charges £18.99 a month for its landline-only service. Once Ofcom’s changes come into force – at the latest by February next year – it will have to cut that figure to at least £13.99, and possibly as low as £11.99.
The drop will effectively reverse the price rises BT has imposed on its customers in recent years.
An Ofcom investigation found that BT had been charging customers more and more for the service, even though its own supply costs have fallen by nearly 30 percent