France offers the lowest telephone charges of the four major Western European nations, according to a recent report published by the UK Office of Telecommunications – and the Deutsche Bundespost’s efforts to make itself more competitive are bearing fruit in West Germany. The figures compare the prices of all telephone services in France, Italy, the United Kingdom and West Germany, dividing the figures into domestic and business users. Prices in the UK are given a figure of 100 – based on British Telecommunications Plc’s charges – and ratios are calculated accordingly. For residential services, France has a figure of 78, Italy 101, and West Germany 103, while for business services, France has 85, against Italy’s 122 and West Germany’s 106. The figures do not include value-added tax, but France still comes out cheapest even when the levy is included – the tax is levied at 15% in the UK, at 18% for businesses and 9% for domestic subscribers in Italy, and 18.6% in France. Copies of the working paper are available free from Oftel.