BT gets green light to bundle

UK communications regulator Ofcom has lifted restrictions placed on incumbent telco BT which prevent the company from bundling together its telephone, Internet and IPTV services at discount prices, as the regulator believes that BT no longer has "significant market power" in the country's fixed-line telecoms market.

BT will now be able to introduce new multi-play packages this autumn offering discounts on the component services: the company was previously obliged to sell multi-play packages for a price equal to the sum of its parts. Competitors such as Virgin Media and BSkyB have been able to sell such packages for a while, contributing to their strong growth.

"It means that BT will be competing on a more level playing field than previously, said Gavin Patterson, CEO of BT Retail. "It's good news for consumers and businesses, as this will allow BT to offer more targeted discounts on products and services, and more attractive bundles at better prices – something we have been unable to offer widely to date."

The Ofcom decision means that BT will also no longer have to inform competitors in advance of its prices. According to the regulator's latest figures, nearly half (46%) of UK consumers bought a bundle of communication services in 2008, up from 29% in 2005.