* BT customers can sign up for Sky Sports from early July
* Will be able to view Sky Sports 1 and 2 from Aug. 1
* Pricing to be announced soon (Adds details, background)
LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) - British telecoms provider BT (BT.L) will offer customers of its Internet television service access to rival BSkyB’s BSY.L sports channels in time for the new Premier League soccer season, it said on Monday.
BSkyB was ordered by Britain’s telecoms regulator in March to cut the prices it charges competitors to air its sports channels, loosening BSkyB’s grip on premium programming and potentially sparking a price war. [ID:nLDE62L1A3]
BT said it would announce pricing for its BT Vision customers soon. It said customers could sign up from early July and begin viewing Sky Sports 1 and 2 from Aug. 1, ahead of the soccer season’s Aug. 14 start.
BSkyB is appealing against the ruling, and the 20 percent difference between its original wholesale prices and the new prices is being held in an escrow account, to be released to either BSkyB or its rivals once the appeal is decided.
The satellite operator already sells its channels to customers of Virgin Media VMED.OVMED.L but the cable operator says the rates are so high it is unable to make a profit from the agreement.
BSkyB, which largely built its business on the back of Premier League and Champions League soccer, is the largest operator in the pay-TV market, with about 10 million users.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (NWSA.O) is a major shareholder in BSkyB and wants to buy the rest of the company for about $12 billion. The two companies are seeking regulatory approval but have not yet been able to agree on price. [ID:nLDE65E0B8] (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Erica Billingham)