NTL to hit BT with ‘simple’ phone tariffs

NTL is launching an attack on BT’s “complicated” telephone pricing this week by scrapping the distinction between national and local rates for phone and Internet calls.

The company’s new “1-2-3” phone tariffs charge 3p per minute between 8am and 6pm, 2p in the evenings and 1p at weekends, irrespective of whether the calls are local or national. Internet calls will cost 1p per minute at all times. The scheme is available nationwide through technology which allows NTL to use BT’s network.

An NTL spokesman says: “We have gone for the simplest phone tariffs because everywhere else it is enormously complicated and there is a lack of understanding about how much it costs to use the phone.”

The move comes as NTL prepares to launch its digital cable TV service in September with a £14m national and regional TV, press and radio advertising campaign through J Walter Thompson.

The company will market “total communication” packages, covering phone, Internet through the TV or PC, digital cable TV and interactive TV channels. The full package, available in NTL’s cable fran- chise areas, will cost £15.92 a month.

Outside the cable franchise areas customers will access phone calls through the £5 a month TV-Internet service which will allow them to use the Net, e-mail and interactive TV.

From January, customers will be able to receive free digital terrestrial TV as part of the package.

Last week, NTL bought Cable & Wireless Communication’s consumer cable division for £8bn. The CWC brand is likely to disappear when the deal is approved in six to nine months’ time.

  • British Airways and tour operator First Choice have joined Tesco, ITN, and the Electronic Telegraph on NTL’s interactive TV-Internet service. The scheme will offer information and online bookings for holidays and flights through the TV. NTL’s interactive channels will soon be available on digital cable and digital terrestrial TV services.
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