How the marketplace works – lines and calls

In this series of blogs, I hope to inform business owners and Telecoms buyers of the considerable and diverse range of products, services and providers available to them in what is a very vibrant and fast moving market.

There is, now, a thriving wholesale market for basic products such as telephone lines and the calls over these lines. The competition in Wholesale markets is driving a vibrant, innovative, value-adding Service Provider (SP) retail market.

OFCOM oversee and regulate the SP market and all SPs are OFCOM registered and accredited. So, SPs operate under a ‘’class licence’’ and need to demonstrate good governance and an adherence to certain Codes of Practice.

There are around 350 – 400 active SPs in the UK, the dominant provider being BT Local Business (BTLB)…one such example being BT Local Business Gloucestershire, which is based in Bristol. All SPs have equal status in the marketplace to ensure a level playing field and SPs have exactly the same access and tools available to allow efficient ordering and servicing of the Wholesale Line Rental (WLR3) market.

Here is the first surprise…BTLB operators are not really BT. They are actually franchises and they differ significantly from the other SPs in that they are restricted to selling BT products only…they are also restricted in their pricing models. All other (non- BTLB) SPs are at liberty to sell whatever Telecoms product they choose and can be much more flexible and/or creative in setting bespoke tariffs and giving special offers. When it comes to phone lines for business, or buying business phone equipment, there are real choices to be made.

Our advice – ask yourself a question…Why constrain yourself to only being able to buy/consume a certain, limited number or type of products at a pre-determined price? You wouldn’t do that for any other area of your business… so why put up with it for Telecoms services?