A phone company trying to win customers away from PCCW has been cleared of allegations that one of its salesmen tried to hoodwink an illiterate elderly woman into switching networks. However, Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN), a City Telecom subsidiary, now faces a fresh investigation by the telecom watchdog into claims it misled customers by advertising phone services it claimed were half the price of PCCW's. The investigations come amid increasingly heated competition between PCCW - which holds a share of more than 75 per cent of the local land line market - and rivals like HKBN, Hutchison and Wharf T&T. The Office of the Telecommunications Authority (Ofta) had been called in to investigate a complaint that a salesman for HKBN misled a 70-year-old woman on the Lower Wong Tai Sin Estate last July. The woman's daughter claimed an HKBN salesman took advantage of her mother's illiteracy and ignorance of competition in the fixed line phone market when he called at her home three times in one day. He repeatedly told her he was from 'the telephone company' and invited her to sign up for lower phone charges without changing her phone number, the daughter said in a complaint to the authority. The daughter complained that the salesman's approach was 'likely to lead consumers, particularly elderly consumers, to erroneously assume he was from PCCW-HKTC', according to Ofta's report on the case. Ofta decided the salesman had not misled the woman, however, as he was wearing an HKBN card around his neck and returned to the woman's house twice after she had told him her sons and daughters would be home when he called back. The woman did not sign up for HKBN's offer. The rejection of the complaint by the telecom watchdog mirrors the throwing out of an earlier complaint by PCCW against HKBN over newspaper adverts for its 0030 international direct dial service. PCCW complained that the adverts misled customers into thinking the 0030 service was a cheaper version of PCCW's 0060 service and that it was also run by PCCW, but the complaint was not upheld. A separate complaint has now been lodged against HKBN for an advertising campaign late last year claiming its monthly fixed line rental fee was half that of other operators, including PCCW. Ofta has opened an investigation after a complainant - identified only as being 'from the industry' - said the campaign breached the Telecommunications Ordinance by misleading customers with hidden terms and conditions. The advertisements failed to spell out the full cash price of the service or the need for customers to commit to a 24-month term plan, the complainant said. The half-price offer lasts for only 12 months and customers pay a higher fee from the 13th month onwards. PCCW is seeking to have its status as a market-dominant telecom company reassessed by Ofta, a move that would allow it to decide its charges without needing the approval of the authority. The threshold for market-dominant status is 75 per cent. That application is being opposed by HKBN, Hutchison, Wharf T&T and New World Telecom who say the market-dominance threshold should be lowered to 50 per cent as it is in Britain and some ?European countries to give them a better chance to compete. Ofta is currently reviewing its competition guidelines.