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Oftel Stops BT's Call Completion Service

Telecom watchdog OFTEL has ordered BT to withdraw its new call completion service on BT Talking Pages following a complaint from the Internet and telephone information service Scoot that the BT service was uncompetitive and damaging to Scoot's business.

Scoot recently introduced a call completion service that allows callers to be put directly through to the business they wish to contact, rather than merely informing users of the telephone number. The service is paid for by advertisers but is free to callers.

BT introduced a similar service two weeks later which also offered call completion, but was free to all new and existing advertisers for 12 months.

"BT's free offer appears to be anti-competitive and could potentially be very damaging to Scoot's business," said David Edmonds, director of telecommunications at OFTEL. "I have ordered them to stop this service now until they can replace it with an offer that I am satisfied properly covers its costs."

Under the terms of the provisional order, BT can continue to offer the Talking Pages service, but must stop call completion immediately.



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