BT cuts cost of calling mobiles by one-third

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The Independent Online

BT Group announced price cuts for calling mobile phones from landlines yesterday of up to 36 per cent. The cuts came after Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, forced mobile phone companies to reduce the fees they charge each time a call is switched from BT's fixed-line network to them.

BT Group announced price cuts for calling mobile phones from landlines yesterday of up to 36 per cent. The cuts came after Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, forced mobile phone companies to reduce the fees they charge each time a call is switched from BT's fixed-line network to them.

These "termination charges" have to be reduced by 1 September and the cut will result in cheaper calls to mobile phones on weekdays. BT has recently complained, however, that some operators have increased the charges at the weekend, pointing to T-Mobile as the worst offender.

The German-owned com- pany has increased its weekend termination rates by 86 per cent. It said the increases were from a low base.

Gavin Patterson, BT's managing director of consumer and ventures, said: "Ofcom has decided that calling mobiles from landlines was too expensive because of the high charges imposed by mobile operators.

"Every BT customer who makes calls from a landline to a mobile will potentially benefit from at least some of these reductions, especially if you nominate a frequently called mobile number as your Best Friend number, which will save you an extra 20 per cent."

BT said that a daytime call to an O2 mobile would fall from 15.97p a minute to 10.08p after 1 September if the mobile number was included by the customer in its Best Friend discount scheme. Mobile numbers can also be included in BT's Friends and Family scheme. It said under its Best Friend scheme an evening call to the Orange network would cost 9.12p per minute compared with 13.4p a minute now.

Consumers have long grumbled about the cost of calls to mobile phones. Jon Miller, a director of uSwitch, which analyses phone tariffs, said: "Today's move by BT is a positive one. Despite an increase in some weekend rates, the majority of BT customers will see an overall reduction in the price of calls to mobiles."

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