BT Leased Line Prices - The Insider's Guide

As a wholesale customer of BT, we've requested and received over 370,000 BT leased line prices! In fact, we probably know more about BT's pricing than many people in BT!

We've also got pricing from BT's main competitors, to the same locations, enabling us to see how BT's prices compare to those from other leased line circuit providers.

How We Came To Request Over 1,400,000 Quotes

hSo is a carrier-independent provider of leased lines and corporate WANs.

To ensure we get the best deal for our customers, we get quotes from BT, Virgin Media, Colt, Vodafone, Kcom and a host of other suppliers.

A few years ago, BT decided to let its wholesale customers like hSo integrate their systems with BT's and retrieve BT leased line prices themselves, without having to go through a salesman.

We decided to create a tool that would enable UK businesses to request leased line prices. It requests wholesale quotes in real-time from a number of major suppliers, including BT Wholesale, BT Openreach, Virgin Media and TalkTalk. 

Since we launched it, it has compared the responses to over 1.4 million wholesale quote requests, using them to generate pricing for over 300,000 retail quotes. We've now compared hundreds of thousands of quotes from BT to those from its competitors. Here's what we found:

BT Leased Line Prices aren't typically the cheapest

In a majority of cases, BT's leased line price wasn't the cheapest quote we received. We could rent an equivalent circuit for less, if we used an alternative supplier.

BT Leased Line Prices vary dramatically depending on where you are in the country

The price you pay will reflect your postcode, the the distance between you and BT's fibre network.

The cost of leased line circuits from other carriers also depends on how close you are to their networks.

In some places, BT is the only game in town

In most of the country, there are several different suppliers who can provide the underlying circuit for your leased line. However, in some areas, usually rural locations, there's no real alternative to BT, unless you're willing to put up with the huge latency issues that satellite brings.

Just because there isn't infrastructure competition at the physical level, doesn't mean there isn't wholesale competiton or retail competition in the leased line market. Several wholesale network operators buy services from BT's infrastructure division, Openreach. Retail ISPs are free to order from Openreach if they wish. They can also order from wholesale network operators that use Openreach to provide part of the underlying connectivity, using BT's pre-existing ducts, poles and telephone exchanges.

Contract Length Dramatically Affects BT Leased Line Prices

Only idiots (and people who know they're going to move) sign one year contracts. Three year and five year contracts offer far better value.

BT undercuts its competitors, in some locations.

Not that many, mind. But it does happen. It's not true that BT is always more expensive than the alternatives.

Leased Line Prices Fluctuate, And Not Just Downwards

As the carriers improve the geographic accuracy of their records, they are better able to provide accurate leased line prices first time.

Estimates based on calculating distances 'as the crow flies' are slowly being replaced with more complex calculations that reflect the detours made necessary by buildings, rivers, ponds and motorways. This has caused some prices to rise and others to fall.

Over the longer term, there is a downward trend in BT leased line prices and those of other carriers, thanks to improvements in optical networking, falling equipment costs, and greater economies of scale.

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