Mobile phone firms making too much, says watchdog

Oftel may act despite falling prices in 'uncompetitive' market
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The Independent Online

Telephone watchdog Oftel today said the cost of using mobile phones has fallen by almost a quarter in the past two years and is continuing to fall.

Telephone watchdog Oftel today said the cost of using mobile phones has fallen by almost a quarter in the past two years and is continuing to fall.

But it said mobile phone companies are still making bigger profits than would otherwise be the case in a fully competitive market.

It warned it may impose new regulations on the industry if further research shows excessive pricing.

Oftel is particularly concerned about the high price of making calls overseas and mobile-to-mobile calls across networks.

Director General of Telecommunications David Edmonds said: "UK mobile prices overall compare favourably to the rest of Europe and they continue to fall.

"However there is evidence that prices could be lower still.

"Oftel will carry out further research into companies' pricing and profitability to assess if any of the operators are setting prices too high, and monitor prices for services such as international roaming and for calls between different mobile networks."

Oftel will decide in July whether it could remove regulations aimed at promoting competition, or should impose new rules on operators.

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