BT shares fall after line rental price rises met with scepticism

SHARES in telecoms giant BT fell yesterday after it told customers they would be paying up to nine per cent more for line rental.

The broadband and landline provider said that those who pay for line rental up front will be charged £141 for a year rather than the previous £129. In comparison, TalkTalk charges £114 and Sky charges £119.40.

The hike does not affect those who pay £15.45 per month rather than up front, although this is still dearer than Sky and TalkTalk.

The news seemed to disappoint the City, however, with shares falling 2.58 per cent. BT customers will now pay at least £21.75 per month for broadband over a year, compared to £13.56 for TalkTalk and the price rise raised fears that consumers will be less enticed by the offer of free access to BT’s Sports channels with broadband.

“[Up front line rental] continues to offer a generous discount of 23 per cent on the price of standard line rental,” BT said, adding the hike was not made to pay for the expensive move into sports TV.