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Cable & Wireless Plc’s Mercury Communications Ltd has in place its first service that works on a nationwide scale in the UK as a result of the watchdog Office of Telecommunications’ telex interconnect determination, announced in August. Mercury is now able to send and recieve telex traffic to and from countries worldwide on its existing 7100 telex service, for directly connected Mercury customers, whereas it was formerly restricted to 70 countries. Mercury says it can offers savings to Mercury customers over British Telecom tariffs of up to 18% on international traffic and up to 37% on national traffic. In addition, Mercury is launching a service, called 7200, for British Telecom customers, which can be now indirectly connected to the Mercury telex network from their Telecom line by prefixing the called party number with 70. The company is offering indirectly-connected customers savings of up to 12% on international traffic and up to 20% on UK traffic. Indirectly connected customers will receive separate bills from Telecom, and Mercury but will get itemised billing from Mercury. Mercury expects to increase its share of the international telex market, which is growing at some 8% per year in the UK. Mercury first asked British Telecom for telex interconnect in December 1985, but it took another 16 months before the UK telex networks were connected. It took a further 18 months and Oftel’s intervention for agreement to be reached on international telex interconnection.

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