UK telecomms customers get worse deals than their US counterparts because they fail to aggressively demand improvements in customer service and flexibility.
This was the view of Don Cruickshank, head of telecomms watchdog Oftel, speaking at the TMA conference in Brighton yesterday. He claimed the reason why US companies often pay 20 per cent less for telecomms contracts than in the UK is that they are better at demanding higher level of services for lower rates.
He said: "More demanding customers need to pressure their telecomms suppliers to package and provide the services they need. Medium-sized US businesses get them, why not their UK counterparts? Get more by demanding more."
Cruickshank believes UK customers spending #2 million a year could shave up to #300,000 off that sum by shopping around and demanding that suppliers design more attractive and tailored packages. Similarly, companies spending #300,000 a year could save #25,000. Customers could also buy services from a range of suppliers rather than just one telco, he continued.
He said: "Business customers now have a bigger role. Oftel has taken away the price cap on BT's main services for business customers. That puts a lot more onus on business customers, as well as other telecomms suppliers, to provide the competitive pressure to ensure price reductions keep on happening."
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