Supermarket chain Asda has launched a pre-paid home telephone service which it claims will undercut BT by more than half on domestic and international calls.
The service, Asda Calltime, will use pre-paid vouchers available from Asda's UK stores and will enable a collective saving on phone calls of up to £726m a year, the supermarket said.
Asda Calltime pre-paid vouchers are available in £5, £10 or £20 and will be on sale from the store's 234 outlets. Users will need to call a freephone number to register credit to their Calltime account, and will need to dial 1460 before the actual number to benefit from cheaper phone calls.
The supermarket said the service will give users massive savings on all local, national and international calls as well as daytime mobile calls. It said it will undercut BT by up to 62 per cent on domestic calls and up to 85 per cent on international calls.
Asda said in a statement: "Asda Calltime will provide a serious challenge to BT, which still enjoys over 80 per cent of the domestic UK telephone market some 15 years after privatisation.
BT said it does not comment on competitors' offerings but did advise customers to look carefully at Asda's price comparison. A spokesman for the telco said the supermarket's price comparisons did not take into account BT's own call discounts and looked at the full charge possible.
The Asda service will be provided by Unitel, which is owned by cable operator NTL.
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