BT has been accused of slipping in a "stealth price rise" of up to 110 per cent for its telephone customers.
At the moment, BT's more expensive daytime tariff runs between 8am and 6pm. Its cheaper evening rate runs from 6pm to 8am.
From February, it is extending its daytime tariff with calls made between 6am and 8am charged at more expensive daytime rates, rather than evening rates. BT insists that the changes will have a "minor impact on a vast majority of customers".
But independent tariff comparison outfit uSwitch.com reckons that three million punters will end up paying more for phone calls first thing in the morning.
"Those making local and national calls during the extended 6am-8am period, the cost of their calls will increase by 110 per cent, while customers making mobile calls during 6am-8am will see the cost of their calls increase by 48 per cent," said uSwitch.com in a statement.
uSwitch.com's Jon Miller added: "Despite BT's attempts to mask the increase in calling charges by highlighting earlier price reductions, this is effectively a stealth price rise.
"The fact remains that consumers will still be charged a minimum £31.50 a quarter for line rental before they've even made a call. There are cheaper suppliers in the market, switching is easy and you can make significant savings by shopping around."
A spokesman for BT played down the changes claiming that three quarters of its customers don't make phone calls that early in the morning. He accepted it did amount to a price rise for around 15 per cent of BT's customers, but denied it was done stealthily. ®