Ofcom, the communications industry regulator, has announced that BT landline-only customers (those customers who only use BT’s landline service) will be getting money off their line rental. The proposals mean that more than 2 million customers will see their bills lowered by at least £5 a month.

BT has pretty much the whole landline-only market sewn up – with an 80% market share, they have 2.3 million out of the 2.9 million customers that have bought a landline-only service. Ofcom’s statement comes after they investigated the steady rise in line rental prices which has occurred over the last five years, despite the costs for provision falling.

The reduction will apply to BT’s landline-only customers who currently pay the standard line rental charge of around £18.99 per month, bringing the cost down to £13.99. There will be no decreases for customers who buy a bundled service from BT (such as landline and broadband combined). The proposed saving of a minimum £5 a month would mean bills are reduced to 2009 levels.

Ofcom also found that BT’s landline-only customers were some of the most vulnerable – with 43% over 75 years of age and 35% living in lower income households. A vast majority (70%) had also never switched supplier.

Those figures are in stark contrast to the customers who bundle together and buy services from a single supplier. Customers who buy landline and broadband services together from the same supplier typically switch after eight years and those who buy phone, internet and TV packages switch (on average) every four. In comparison, landline-only customers on average are stuck with the same provider for 20 years.

But what exactly is ‘line rental’, it all sounds a bit old fashioned and for those households that don’t have a landline at all – isn’t it a bit unfair to have to fork out for it? Well, if you’re an internet user, your connection to the world-wide web generally comes through your telephone wires – hence why you still need to pay for line rental. BT have insisted that regardless of whether you’re using the line for the internet or phone – the cost of maintaining it, is the same.

So, overall, it’s good news for landline-only customers who should start to see bills go down – but why wait? If you’re always sighing and rolling your eyes at the size of your phone/ broadband/TV subscription bill, then do something about it. Switching suppliers could be a sure-fire way of getting back control over your finances, and you can start right now – it’s simples – when you comparethemarket.com

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