Comment on Ofcom’s Ongoing Strategic Review - only Ofcom-Accredited Comparison Service

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Following todayÂ?s publication of OfcomÂ?s Phase II Strategic Review of the UK telecommunications market, Chris Williams, telecoms analyst at independent comparison and switching service, comments; Â?It is encouraging to see Ofcom take a much needed tough line with BT through its proposal to establish Â?real equality of accessÂ? in the UK telecoms market; this will help create a level-playing field in which suppliers can deliver more competitive products to consumers.

“As the UK voice and broadband markets continue to evolve and grow, it is crucial that all companies are able to move freely and competitively. As an independent participant in the market we strongly believe that Ofcom must continue the work it has started to ensure a fair and competitive market is achieved for both suppliers and consumers.”

“Despite deregulation 20 years ago, BT still enjoys an advantage over its competitors, due to BT Retail’s preferential treatment from BT Wholesale. However, BT will no longer be able to maintain this relationship under Ofcom’s instruction that all suppliers must have access to BT Wholesale’s products, prices and processes equivalent to BT Retail.

Williams continued; “While the concept of ‘equivalence’ will undoubtedly put pressure on BT’s market share in the short term, the energy market has demonstrated (through the break-up of British Gas), that the only long term solution to creating a constantly competitive market will be to split BT Wholesale and BT Retail.

Williams concludes: “It is vital that Ofcom maintain a strong line and must be fully prepared to instigate a split should BT act in an anti-competitive way.“

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Rebecca Ford
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