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May 22, 1988

EUROPEAN PTTS SCRAMBLE TO JOIN THE VALUE ADDED NETWORK SERVICES RACE

By CBR Staff Writer

British Telecommunications Plc acknowledges that it is poised to re-enter the value added network services market, 18 months after its initial attempt folded – but it was beaten to the announcement by France Telecom and Deutsche Bundespost with their controversial joint venture plan (CI No 923). A British Telecom spokesman confirmed that we shall be offering a solution fairly soon in a new sector covering all kinds of data access and electronic data interchange, adding that the earlier venture undertaken with McDonnell-Douglas and its Tymnet unit failed because it was aimed specifically at electronic data interchange for which there was not a critical mass market in the UK at the time. Electronic Data Interchange will be offered as part of the total business of intercommunications this time round said the official. It seems probable that Telecom has given up on the idea of partners and will go it alone this time – its agreement with McDonnell-Douglas was never dissolved but the US party has said that nothing is happening in its court for the time being. And British Telecom was barred from going in with the partner it really wanted, IBM. Meanwhile the French and German PTTs are expected to announce details of their proposed new company shortly, and as well as offering its own services, the venture will seek to acquire stakes in existing value-added network operators.

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