Regulators say BT can now offer low-cost voice service

Ofcom, U.K.'s telecom regulator, has given BT the green light to offer a discounted phone service as part of a double or triple play bundle that would include broadband and video services. This ruling eliminates one of the last restrictions Ofcom placed on the BT when it forced the company to restructure in 2005. In its ruling, Ofcom said that BT did not have "significant market power" any more in the U.K.'s major wireline markets.

One of the requirements of BT's restructuring process was that it would have to make its copper lines available to competitive providers. Since BT's monopoly was dismantled in 2005, the service provider has been competing with a new host of service providers and media providers including British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC (BSY), Virgin Media and Carphone Warehouse Group's TalkTalk. While these competitors have been able to offer customers low-cost, or in some cases free phone service as part of a dual or triple play bundle, BT could not offer a discounted voice service. Also, BT's Global Service Division will be able to offer low-cost voice to both large and small businesses.   

In an interview with Dow Jones Newswires, a BT spokesperson said that Ofcom's ruling will allow BT "to compete on a more level playing field than previously."

For more:
- Dow Jones via Wall Street Journal has this article

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