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BT TV customers could face Sky Sports price rises as Ofcom red cards wholesale rules

Sky Sports 1 and 2 on BT TV could be set to go up in price as Ofcom removes the obligation for Sky to sell its pay TV channels at a set price. 

The media regulator decided to remove the so-called ‘Wholesale Must Offer’ ruling on the basis that Sky Sports is now available on a wide number of pay TV platforms, including Virgin Media and newer platforms TalkTalk TV and EE TV, via the Now TV app

Since the WMO price caps were put in place, BT has also sunk £2 billion into the launch of BT Sport, which provides live and exclusive access to a range of Premier League games.  

That said, the lion’s share of Premier League games continue to be found on Sky Sports 1 and 2 and naturally, BT is not happy with Ofcom’s decision. 

How can I watch Sky Sports and BT Sport?A BT spokesperson told Recombu: “BT is very disappointed that Ofcom has proposed the removal of the wholesale must offer obligation on Sky to provide wholesale access Sky Sports 1 and 2 on regulated terms.

“We will consider our legal options in the light of this decision and, in the meantime, continue to offer our customers access to Sky Sports 1 and 2.”

We asked BT spokespeople what this meant in terms of possible price rises and asked if BT would absorb any price hikes instead of passing them on to customers. BT refused to comment on any specifics, but its spokesperson said that it welcomes Ofcom’s assurances that it will intervene should prices jump up dramatically. 

The spokesperson added: “Ofcom has said it is important for pay TV retailers to have access to key Sky content to be able to compete effectively in this market, and that they want consumers to have access to these channels. We therefore expect Sky to behave appropriately so that we can continue to offer our customers access.

The cheapest Sky Sports and BT Sport deals“Ofcom have also said they will monitor the situation closely and step in if necessary, which is something we welcome.”

In response to Ofcom’s announcement, a Sky spokesperson said: “We are pleased that Ofcom has decided to remove the WMO condition. As the evidence demonstrates, we are, and have always been, more than happy to make our channels available on other platforms.”

Yesterday Sky announced details of a forthcoming TV service called Sky Q. This includes a set-top box that’s 4K ready and Andrew Olson, Sky’s director of new products confirmed that Sky Sports 4K would be launching at some point in 2016

BT has earned the distinction of being the only broadcaster in the UK that currently offers a live Ultra HD sports channel. BT Sport Ultra HD costs £15/month on top of a BT Infinity service and gives viewers access to live Premier League, UEFA Champions League and Women’s Super League football in 4K as well as MotoGP and Rugby Union events. 

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