Phone bills down again from 1 July 2002
Italian family and business telephone spending is coming down once more, as the overall savings from price changes in 2002 climb to 139 million euros. Telecom Italia Domestic Wireline’s latest price review brings in new price cuts for residential customers (a half-hour of free long-distance telephone calls for ever in addition to the free hour of local calls in effect since 1 February 2002), and now one hour of free local calls is being extended to business clients too. These customer benefits more than offset the previously announced increase to general telephone network subscription fees, which has been introduced as a result of the tariffs restructuring resolution sought by the European Commission.
Significant new developments have been announced for the “Ricomincio da te” package, launched in February by Telecom Italia Domestic Wireline, Telecom Italia´s fixed-line services business unit. This new sales package, initially rolled out exclusively to residential customers in Italy, has now been extended to corporate customers, showing once more how Telecom Italia is responding with greater rapidity to actual customer needs, in respect of the underlying economic rules which discipline the entire telecommunications industry.
Italian residential and business customers to spend even less
From 1 July 2002 phase two of the “Ricomincio da te” offer will allow Italian customers to benefit from a new round of price cuts. At the same time, previously announced telephone network access subscription charge changes are being implemented, following the resolution on tariffs restructuring sought by the European Commission. Annual customer savings will total an aggregate of 139 million euros.
This review is of key importance for the telecommunications market, which is completely open to competition. For many years Telecom Italia has received a subscription fee that failed to cover the fixed costs sustained for maintaining and, most importantly, upgrading the network that everybody uses to stay in touch every hour of the day. The European Union has strongly pushed for a zeroing of the “telephone network access deficit”; this will, among other things, enable other operators to compete with Telecom Italia on the access market.
New prices for “residential” telephone subscriptions
In the wake of the Communications Regulatory Authority ruling on its review of the “Price Cap” values structure, in implementation of European Commission recommendations regarding tariffs restructuring, the subscription fee for the general telephone network paid by residential customers from 1 July 2002 changes from the current figure of 11.36 euros per month excluding VAT to 12.14 euros per month (+0.78 euros) excluding VAT. Even after this change, the price charged by Telecom Italia for residential access to the telephone network remains below the average in Europe.
There is no change to subscription fees for ISDN lines.
Residential phone bills shrink yet again
Although subscription charges are rising, Italian telephone users will continue to find pleasant surprises in their phone bills. Following this review, the “typical” Italian family will save around 0.89 euros per month on long-distance calls, which translates into a net saving of 0.11euros on the phone bill. This is how:
* half an hour of free long-distance phone calls every two-month billing period
The “typical” Italian family on average generates over 15 minutes of long-distance call traffic per month, that is to say, calls to a dial code that differs from the code in the location from which the call is made. In phase two of “Ricomincio da te”, residential customers will enjoy 30 minutes of free and for ever long-distance calls every two-month billing period, corresponding to an average monthly saving of 0.89 euros on call charges. This more than compensates for the higher subscription fee.
Although there is no change to the monthly subscription fee that applies to ISDN lines, residential customers with ISDN telephone lines will also be able to benefit from 30 minutes of free long-distance calls every two-month billing period.
Teleconomy package customers will also be receiving these new benefits.
* Benefits available since February
This price break is in addition to the 60 minutes of free local calls offered to residential customers since February every two-month billing period, along with extension of weekend rates to all off-peak long-distance calls (between 6:30 PM and 8 AM) every day of the week, and the abolition of supplementary subscription charges for accessing advanced telecommunications services (ringback on busy, 400 service, answering service, text messaging to and from the Telecom Italia fixed-wire network and TIM mobile phones).
Business customers save too
Business customer phone bills are also coming down in phase two of Telecom Italia´s “Ricomincio da te” offer. From 1 July “business” customer subscription charges change from 14.62 euros to 15.20 euros per month excluding VAT. For this category of clients, the 0.58 euro increase is more than offset by 60 minutes of free local calls for business customers every two-month billing period from now on, corresponding to savings of 0.87 euros (excluding VAT) on call charges. Average phone bill savings for business customers will be in the region of 0.29 euros.
ISDN line subscription charges remained unaltered at 27.37 euros per month before VAT. “Business” customers on Teleconomy packages will also benefit from 60 minutes of free local calls every billing period.