Oftel has forced BT to make another step towards cheaper calls. BT’s carrier pre-selection service, announced today, will allow callers to use an alternative company for both national and international calls.

Oftel has been working directly with several telephone service providers including telecommunications giant, BT, to bring “costs down across the board,” said Duncan Stroud, a spokesperson for Oftel.

“If the customer finds a company which offers cheaper calls than BT then the customer can simply select them as their [provider],” said Stroud.

No special equipment will be needed to use the service. Up until now people had to dial extra numbers or add an adaptor plug to their existing line, such as those services offered by Mercury and OneTel. Instead calls will simply be switched to different companies at the local exchange rate.

“This is a major boost to competition in both services and prices,” said David Edmonds, director general of telecommunications at Oftel.

This service is only available from landline to landline calls at present, but BT’s ‘all calls service’ will be available from December 2001. This will enable customers to choose alternative providers for local calls, mobile calls and premium rate calls.

“Over the coming months I hope to see many thousands of UK customers using the service,” added Oftel's Edmonds.