British Telecommunications Plc’s Dialcom unit has signed a contract with the Finnish public telecoms authority for its X400 message handling software and is upgrading the German Bundespost’s existing Dialcom electronic mail software to be compatible with British Telecom’s forthcoming Message Handling Service, MHS. Meanwhile customer trials of the message service have been delayed again, this time from the second to the third quarter of 1987. The software from Dialcom, modified by Telecom, will link users of currently incompatible proprietary and public electronic mail systems as well as Prestel and Telecom Gold users in the UK, to each other transparently. Telecom originally commissioned the X400 software from Dialcom when the North American company was owned by ITT. In acquiring Dialcom, Telecom has ensured that its UK service will be able to connect to users worldwide. Apart from the agreements with the Bundespost and the Finnish public telecoms authority, trials in the US are already underway for the software with Data General and with Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Telecommunications. Telecom demonstrated X400 links with the Bundespost and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone at the Cebit ’87 exhibition in Hannover in March. Message Handling Service in the UK will be able to link, for example, to Dialcom’s X400 service in the US over Telecom Gold as well as to the numerous Dialcom licencees worldwide if they accept the same X400 software. Telecom says prices for the coming UK service will be available in a few weeks. It estimates that some 25,000 electronic mail systems exist in the UK, many of them incompatible. Message Handling Service will run on 50 Series minicomputers from Prime Computer, on which British Telecom has spent some UKP5m so far.