Carrier pre selection. (CPS).

Carrier pre selection - CPS - at Cheapest Utility Suppliers

About Carrier Pre Selection (CPS)

Carrier Pre-Selection (CPS) has been introduced to improve competition in the telephony market.

CPS allows your calls to be routed through a cheaper carrier. The calls are routed by BT at the local telephone exchange.

CPS is available for BT Mainland and Northern Ireland customers.

BT Light User customers must first cancel their Light User service with BT before they can use CPS.

Requesting Carrier Pre Selection.

CPS registration usually takes 10 days for BT to complete, but may take up to 30 days.

Compatibility and Carrier Pre Selection.

CPS is not recommended for use with Payphones, but is compatible with all other equipment.

BT services will work with CPS except:

Public and managed payphones

Subscriber Private metering (pulse metering)

Internet for schools

BT Call Sign - is available, only the main number is required to set up the CPS service

Carrier Pre Selection Call Routing.

CPS routes all calls to our selected Carrier apart from the following which will be routed to BT:

Emergency numbers Operator assistance Directory enquiries 0844 04 or 0808 99 - flat-rate (unmetered) Internet access numbers e.g. BT Surftime and Freeserve Anytime 0820 - BT Internet services to schools. Calls can be routed to BT on a per call basis by prefixing the number with 1280.

CPS and Internet Access

Home Phone customers using an Internet Service Provider (ISP) should check their Dial Up Settings.

Numbers starting 0845 should be prefixed with 1280 otherwise we will charge the Home Phone rate for dialing 0845 numbers when the Internet is accessed.

Any other dial up number does not need to be prefixed.

Customers who do not know how to check and alter their dial up settings should contact their Internet Service Provider for support.

How could I benefit from CPS?

CPS means you can choose services from different phone companies using your existing BT line. As a result, you may pay less for your telephone calls. Even if you have a BT and are already using services from other companies, CPS may be a more convenient way of doing this. CPS should also make the market for telecoms services more competitive, which should help to cut prices.

Do I have to make every call using my CPS provider?

No, you will be able to use any other provider with whom you have arranged services (including BT) by dialling extra digits before the phone number you want to call. (This is called an 'over-ride' or 'indirect access' code.) For example, you may want to use a CPS provider for most international calls but use another provider just for calls to a particular country.

Will I need any new phone lines or equipment?

BT will still own, run and send you bills for your phone line. Your phone number will not change. However, you will get a separate bill for call charges from each different call provider that you use.

If you have more than one phone number and line, you can choose different CPS options for each line. However, all extensions on the same line must have the same CPS option.

If I have CPS, how will the other services that I receive from my current provider change?

If you use BT's 'Light User Scheme', and similar lower-cost schemes such as 'In Contact' and 'In Contact-Plus', you will not be able to use these schemes and CPS. To take CPS, you will first have to cancel these schemes.

On the other hand, if you already use CPS but want to use one of these schemes instead, you will have to cancel the CPS service.

What happens if I have a burglar or personal alarm that uses the telephone?

How will I get CPS?

To receive CPS you will need to get in touch with a CPS provider such as The Utility Warehouse. You can enter into a contract on the Internet or over the telephone.

BT send a letter to the customer informing them that their calls are about to be transferred to an alternative operator using CPS.

It gives them the date of transfer and informs them that calls can be routed through BT by prefixing numbers with 1280.

This is the text of a letter BT have sent to customers when CPS has been requested:

Dear Customer,

Transferring your calls to an alternative network operator using Carrier Pre-Selection (CPS).

We have been advised by a Service Provider acting on your behalf that you would like to transfer all your calls to the Service Provider on the following telephone number(s)

Transfer of these calls will take place on xx/xx/xx unless you have specifically requested a later date or unless the request is cancelled (in these cases no further notification will be sent). From then on you will receive a separate bill from your service provider for calls made using their network. (All operator assisted calls will be carried by BT and not your service provider unless you specifically choose on a per call basis to route your operator calls via your chosen service provider).

You will need to check with your new service provider which services are likely to be affected by your transfer and which services may not be available to you as a CPS customer. You may also be interested to know that you can still choose BT to carry a call for you by dialling 1280 in front of the number you wish to call (if you have a payphone we recommend you bar 1280, please refer to your user guide or call 0800252541 for further details). Why not check which calls are cheaper with BT? Call us between 8.00am and 8.00pm, Monday to Saturday on Freephone 0800 085 5291 for residential customers and 0800 400400 for business customers and one of our advisors will be happy to help.

Should you decide to return to BT you can do this at any time by notifying BT.


OFCOM explains the changes and what CPS means for you if you have a BT line. It was produced together with consumer groups and telecommunications operators.

Other companies, such as cable TV companies and Cheap mobile phone companies, can choose whether to offer you CPS, although call types and combinations of calls may be different. If you are thinking of switching from BT, you may want to check whether your new supplier offers CPS, and in what form.