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Introduction of new Manx Telecom fixed line tariff 2 October 2008

The Communications Commission has concluded its investigation into complaints about Manx Telecom’s new tariffs for its fixed line phone services which came into effect in July. The results of this investigation are as follows:

Line rental: Customers who were still on Manx Telecom’s old quarterly tariff were required to migrate to the current “Choice” tariffs. Manx Telecom’s old quarterly line rental has not been available to new customers for several years. Nevertheless, complainants felt that the line rentals with the new Choice tariffs were high and represented an excessive increase.

The Commission’s investigation compared Manx Telecom’s tariffs with those of BT in the UK, Eircom in Ireland and operators in Guernsey and Jersey. Manx Telecom’s line rentals generally compare well. However, for some people, who do not make many phone calls and who were previously on the old quarterly tariff, there was a significant increase in line rental which is not offset by the lower call charges.

  • Following discussions, Manx Telecom has agreed to introduce a new tariff for consumers who feel that they would benefit from a lower line rental (at a charge of £8.50 per month with direct debit and e-billing) as opposed to cheaper calls.

Transparency: The “headline” fixed line rental charges listed in Manx Telecom’s original tariff brochure assume that customers would pay by direct debit and would receive e-bills rather than paper bills. The small print then indicated that there is an extra charge of £1 if you do not pay by direct debit and a further 50p if a paper bill is required. Some people thought that this was misleading. Some also felt that the e-billing charge disadvantaged those without internet access.

The Commission found that the practice of offering discounts for direct debit and e-billing is very common. In fact, some telecoms operators state that customers must pay by direct debit. It is also common for operators to confine the charges for non-direct-debit payment and e-billing payment to the small print. There is no common “standard” method of presentation amongst telecoms providers although Ofcom has recently consulted on the matter and an industry standard is likely to follow.

  • Manx Telecom has confirmed that charges for direct debit and e-billing will be displayed in a more transparent way. Manx Telecom is also looking at ways in which customers without a personal computer could benefit from e-billing.

Honourable Adrian Earnshaw MHK, Chairman of the Communications Commission said

“I am delighted that Manx Telecom has agreed to make these changes for customers. I also welcome the Commission’s findings that Manx Telecom’s prices compare favourably with operators in other jurisdictions”.

Dr Carmel McLaughlin, Director of the Communications Commission said

“It has been an interesting and busy time since I joined the Commission in July. I would like to thank Manx Telecom and other contributors for their cooperation with the investigation the results of which should benefit consumers.”


  1. The Communications Commission is responsible for regulation of the telecommunications industry under the Telecommunications Act 1984. It exercises its functions in a manner which it considers is best calculated to promote the interests of consumers, purchasers and other users of telecommunications services in the island. It works in co-ordination with other departments to implement the Government’s broader e-business strategy.
  2. Manx Telecom has been licensed as the Island’s main fixed line telephony provider since 1986.
  3. In July 2008, the licence of Cable & Wireless Isle of Man Limited was modified to enable it to provide fixed line telephony services, thus introducing competition into this area for the first time in the Isle of Man.

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