Mobile phone alert
Sunday 02 June 1996
The reprimand will be included in his pricing review of British Telecom, even though he has no immediate authority to force the companies to cut their rates.
He could, however, order an investigation, the results of which could be passed on to the DTI or the Office of Fair Trading for further action.
The British situation, where owners of plain old plug-in-the-wall phones pay through the nose to reach mobiles, is in sharp contrast to North America, where the cell phone owner pays for incoming as well as outgoing calls. Indeed, in some cases in the UK, calls from terrestrial telephones to cell phones cost more than the same call would if it were made by the mobile user.
In an apparent attempt to undermine Mr Cruickshank's initiative, BT announced last week that it is cutting charges on weekend calls to mobile phones by 55 per cent from 28.32p a minute to 12.5p.
Consumer groups welcomed the move but said rates are still excessive. "They are extortionate," said Noel Scanlon, director of competition policy at the Telecommunications Users Group. "The BT move shows that there is a considerable amount of reduction possible."
The Consumers' Association said it did not believe competition would force down prices on its own. "Given BT's substantial bargaining power in relation to the cost of calls originating on its fixed network, our view remains firmly that these calls should be brought within the scope of price control," it said.
According to BT accounts filed with Oftel, the company passed on pounds 376m in interconnect charges to mobile phone operators Vodafone, Cellnet, Orange and One-2-One in the year to 31 March, 1995. The figure does not include BT's own profit, nor charges collected by other terrestrial operators such as Mercury and the cable companies.
Some of the interconnection contracts are now being renegotiated and, under new regulations, details will have to be made public for the first time.
- 1 Games of Thrones actor Lena Headey makes emotional promise to her unborn daughter
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...