Most Mercury Communications Ltd users consider that Cable & Wireless Plc’s fledgling rival to British Telecommunications Plc has lived up to their cost savings expectations, although a substantial number are critical of the level of customer service. These were some of the conclusions drawn from a survey carried out by consultants Octagon Communications Ltd, which specialises in tariffing. A total of 80% of respondants reckoned that they had made cost savings of between 11% and 29% by switching to Mercury, but they were less satisfied with the quality of customer service and itemised billing. Here comments such as: Itemised billing is a pain… too much paper. Mercury must be chopping down Epping Forest every day and Mercury’s organisation is poor; they are not geared up for customer relations were recorded. Over half the users interviewed have had broadly favourable experiences with both British Telecom and Mercury although most found it like comparing David with Goliath when asked to compare the two. Reliability now ranks as the top priority in judging performance, followed by customer service and cost savings through maintenance, technical quality, with itemised billing – which is generally regarded as a high priority by residential as opposed to business telephone users – placed at the bottom of the list of priorities.