Rivals question Deutsche Telekom 'call and surf' service

Rivals of the German telecommunications market leader and former state monopolist Deutsche Telekom are reported to be accusing it of questionable business practice in connection with its 'Call & Surf' tariffs, introduced in September of last year, a Financial Times report said.

The report said according to VATM, the association of private telecommunications companies, rivals of Deutsche Telekom, many new customers are not aware, unless they ask, that 'Call & Surf' tariffs bind them to Deutsche Telekom for 24 months.

Until now, the period of notice for cancellation at Deutsche Telekom has amounted to six weeks, the report said.

Deutsche Telekom is reported to have increased its proportion of DSL customers with binding contracts of over a year.

The report said according to a market study by VATM, rival landline operators have seen their share of the market as a whole, including telephony, rise from 13.3% to 13.9% this year, while the German telecommunications market, as a whole, is estimated to have shrunk, owing largely to reduced prices, particularly in mobile telephony.