BT finds Sky's decision to rise wholesale prices of Sky Sports 'bizarre and a little bit flattering' – accusing the company of subjecting their customers to a price rise to disrupt the launch of BT Vision's latest advertising campaign.
Sky insists that the price rise is necessary, but the timing – which coincides with today's press launch of BT Vision's new advert to herald the arrival of Sky's premium sports channels – was always going to raise eyebrows.
Speaking exclusively to TechRadar, BT's Andy Baker felt that disruption was at the heart of the decision.
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"There was some overnight activity from Sky…and we do find it kind of bizarre and almost a little bit flattering that Sky, on face value, seem happy to subject their customers to a price rise merely to try to disrupt our launch day," said Baker.
"It just feels a little bit odd."
With a legal challenge to Ofcom's decision that it would set wholesale prices ongoing, Baker insisted that BT was in the TV platform business for the long haul.
"Ultimately we're working with some pricing, the wholesale pricing, which we feel is wrong and we're going through a legal process to adjust that
"This doesn't upset our launch in any way, shape or form."
Sky explains change
However, TechRadar understands that Ofcom had set the deadline for Sky to outline any retail/wholesale price change, so any announcement was always likely today.
Explaining the pricing change, Mark Darcey, Sky's Chief Operating Officer, said: "Sky is more popular than ever because people like what we do.
"We invest to bring customers a better choice of TV and use innovations like high definition and 3D to help them get the most out of their subscription. We believe our TV prices are great value and, with our money-saving broadband and phone options, we can put money back in customers' pockets.
"BT will make a big noise about a couple of channels but they may find that customers value a much wider choice of viewing. With Sky, customers can enjoy the full set of five Sky Sports channels, the best choice of HD viewing and dozens of other high-quality channels.
"Customers are smart enough to look behind the headlines and compare quality and value across the full bundle of services. If BT really wanted to give customers a fair deal, it would stop charging so much for its broadband and phone services."