With consumers and SMEs facing higher line rental and call charges from BT, onlookers have expressed dismay at the telco's price hike and warned that others may follow suit.
From 1 October, daytime call charges will rise half a penny to 6.4p a minute while the carrier's call connection fee will go up from 9.9p to 10.9p. Line rental costs will increase by 50p a month to £13.29 – although customers using online billing will only pay £12.04.
BT has taken pains to point out that many customers with inclusive call plans will be unaffected. The telecoms behemoth hopes the price increases will see more customers opting for such long-term packages.
But some in the industry have criticised the move. Michael Phillips, product director at comparison website Homephonechoices.co.uk, pointed out that the rises come at a particularly unwelcome time for customers.
"It is disappointing to see the country's largest home phone provider raise line rental charges and call setup and daytime rates," he said. "Bills should be getting cheaper given the current state of their customers' finances and with a double dip in the economy looming."
Phillips also claimed that BT is often a bellwether for the remainder of the industry.
"BT sets the agenda in the home phone market," he explained. "So I will not be surprised if we see other providers follow suit and hike up their own charges."
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