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UK Ofcom launches landline price review

Staff Writer |
Ofcom has launched a review of the retail market for standalone landline telephone services as it looks to protect elderly and vulnerable customers.

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Ofcom said that while competition in the telecommunications sector remains strong, it is concerned that those who buy landline services on their own are not being served well by the market.

Ofcom said all major landline providers have upped line rental charges by between 28% and 41% in real terms in recent years, despite benefiting from around a 25% drop in the underlying wholesale cost of providing a landline service.

The regulator said the price hikes were felt most by customers who do not have broadband or a pay-TV service as they don't see the benefits of strong competition for "bundled" communications.

Ofcom said elderly and vulnerable people - often very reliant on their landline, and more likely than most to have stayed with the same phone company all their life - are hit hardest by price rises.

The regulator is now analysing the market and depending on its findings, it expects to publish a consultation early next year.

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