The protest lodged last week by the Federation of Wholesale Distributors against mobile network price increases for phone cards (The Grocer, March 31, p6) has resulted in a full investigation by Oftel. FWD director general Alan Toft (above) was told on Wednesday that the investigation has been moved from preliminary to full investigation status. Toft said: "Oftel will decide if there has been a breach of licence conditions by the networks or a breach of competition law or both. "We have been told the investigation will be completed by June 28 at the latest." FWD complained that networks such as Orange, BT and one2one had pushed cost prices to wholesalers up to such an extent that independent retailers, buying from wholesalers, would see their margin reduce from 10% in 1999 to 2.5% this month. FWD also complained that the networks acted simultaneously and increased prices without reasonable explanation. Toft said: "We applaud Oftel's decision. Local shops could be squeezed out of the phone card market while many people rely on them for their phone card supply. Wholesalers have about 10% of the phone card market which is worth about £3.5bn. {{NEWS }}