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August 8, 1988

MERCURY AIMS FOR PAYPHONE PROFITS BY END OF YEAR ONE

By CBR Staff Writer

Having got its the first of its public payphones successfully launched at Waterloo Station (CI No 981), Mercury Communications Ltd doesn’t intend to hang around and wait for the profits to come: it has made a commitment to be making money on pay telephones this time next year. Mercury will concentrate its initial roll-out of call boxes in prime site London areas such as railway and coach stations, and shopping centres. Installation will spread next year to major cities that lie on the Mercury figure-of-eight fibre optic network, including Birmingham and Bristol. Managing director of Mercury Gordon Owen denied British Telecom’s charges of cream skimming but said that no discussions had taken place with the state telecommunications watchdog Oftel on whether Mercury will be obliged to service presently unprofitable areas such as rural or urban inner city zones. Payment is by credit card only: Access, American Express, Diner’s Club and Visa will be accepted as well as Mercury pre paid cards. Local calls are a minimum five pence, and the cost of international calls will fall by around 18% compared with current rates if they can be connected directly by Mercury rather than having to go via the British Telecom network.

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