BT rings a rival's bell

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The Independent Online

BT has managed to shoot itself in the foot by commissioning an independent survey into telephone charges paid by residential customers which ends up recommending one of its rivals, writes Jason Nissé.

BT has managed to shoot itself in the foot by commissioning an independent survey into telephone charges paid by residential customers which ends up recommending one of its rivals, writes Jason Nissé.

The report, by accountants Deloitte & Touche, studies the potential bills for over 200,000 customers and was meant to show that BT Together, its new tariff announced a year ago, was cheaper than that offered by rival cable companies, such as Telewest and NTL. The findings supported this. However, for completeness, Deloitte also included the Deutsche Telekom subsidiary Eurobell, which offers low-cost calls and cable services in the south of England.

Deloitte found that Eurobell was cheaper than BT in four out of the five customer profiles tested.

The only scenario in which BT ended up cheaper was where customers used the phone substantially more than average and had bills of more than £600 a year.

Eurobell is delighted with the results. Its managing director, Ian Bennett, said he was "very grateful" to BT for showing how cheap Eurobell's service was.

Deloitte also took heart from the results. "As a respected auditor we take an objective view of any work taken on for any client," said a spokesman. "This is an objective analysis."

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