In June, the telecommunications regulator had asked BT to step up its ISDN promotional efforts and make sure pricing would keep a level playing field for the competition. In a prepared statement, Oftel said BT's tariff changes had "offered little by way of reduced lifetime ownership costs, and significantly increased rental costs for low users". Oftel has given BT an ultimatum to meet its objectives next week and says it "expects BT to meet its commitments through price reductions".
"It was a complete surprise to us," a BT spokeswoman said. "We were obliged to give Oftel 28 days' notice of the changes and they seemed happy with what we had come up with. Suddenly we had a note form Oftel saying 'sorry, you can't do that'. If we had priced at the level Oftel was seeking, our competitors would have accused us of putting them out of business. We're convinced our prices remain among the best in the world."
The latest ISDN tariffs took effect at midnight on Sunday and BT said that an instant change could cause it headaches with new customers.