Oftel claims UK consumers have cheapest Net prices

We may think costs of getting online are high but they are not as high as in Sweden, watchdog reports
Written by Jane Wakefield, Contributor

Internet access, fixed line and mobile phone calls are some of the cheapest in Europe according to a survey published by Oftel Friday.

According to the report consumers in the UK have the lowest prices for off-peak and peak access and both residential and business customers benefit from the lowest mobile phone prices. The survey, described by Oftel as "a major international" study compares prices in Italy (for mobile only), France, Sweden, Germany and the American states of California and Ohio.

The survey carried out by independent telecoms consultants Teligen finds that prices in Sweden -- the next cheapest country surveyed -- are 28 percent higher than Britain with mobile prices 13 percent higher. An Oftel spokeswoman claims Sweden was deliberately chosen for comparison because of its competitive marketplace.

Business users do not fare quite so well admits director general of Oftel David Edmonds. "Prices for fixed line telephone services for businesses were average and Internet access for businesses were higher than average. I look forward to progress on this as competition continues to deliver new tariffs to the benefit of consumers," he says

Overall Edmonds is pleased with the survey and Oftel promises this is just the first of many benchmarking exercises to come.

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