Ofcom ignores the ‘Wild West’ mobile provider market despite Billmonitor data suggesting significant cost differences between the ‘big three’ providers for the average SME customer, and despite the regulator's own data originally confirming a "15 - 20 per cent" cost difference (FOI request, Feb 2018).
Upon the eve of our report launch, Ofcom now retracts this key figure, saying its own data "cannot now be considered reliable."
Tommaso Valletti, Professor of Economics at Imperial College Business School and currently Chief Competition Economist of the European Commission in Brussels says that:
These findings, if verified by independent investigations, raise serious questions. Price differences of 15-20 per cent, not attributable to differential consumption patterns, indicate that a market is not close to being competitive.
While generally we tend to think that competition among mobile operators is very intense for business customers, these results – again, if confirmed – depict a rather different picture, especially for SMEs.
- Investigation reveals only one in ten SMEs get a fair deal from their providers.
- Billmonitor data suggests a 16.3 per cent cost difference between the ‘big three’ mobile providers, for the average SME customer.
- In February 2018 Ofcom conceded a 15-20 per cent cost difference between mobile operators - having resisted to share evidence until Billmonitor’s third Freedom of Information (FOI) request. However, the regulator still refused to reveal the identity of the most expensive provider and, upon the eve of our report launch, now retracts these statements - dubbing its own data “no longer reliable”.
- With 89.9 per cent confidence (based on statistical analysis), the Billmonitor investigation reveals that EE is the most expensive mobile provider in the UK for business contracts.
- Larger SMEs are being cut the worst deals from mobile providers and can each save, on average, over £24,000 per year.
- Billmonitor calls on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate the current mobile provider ‘Wild West’, to take over the job Ofcom has shown little interest in despite Billmonitor’s years-long pleas, and provide transparency and rigorous industry wide regulation to help SMEs.
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