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November 2, 1995

MINIGRAMS EXTRA

By CBR Staff Writer

The UK Office of Telecommunications has published proposals to boost competition in directory enquiries and other directory-based services because 11 years after the privatisation of British Telecommunications Plc, it is still the virtual monopoly supplier of directory products and services, which Oftel says is damaging to the interests of consumers – it says it is determined to maintain public confidence that directory information will not be misused; British Telecom owns the only core database of directory information, which also contains information about the customers of many rival operators.

Siemens AG has won a $40m contract to supply Personal Communications Services hand-sets to GO Communications Inc, which is to bid for more US licenses in the forthcoming entrepreneurs round, marking the German’s entry into the $2,000m a year US cellular telephone handset market; Siemens, one of the four largest suppliers of hand-sets in Europe, said it will make the PCS 1900 standard hand-sets at its plant in Austin, Texas and has recruited Robert Hunsberger from Northern Telecom Ltd to head the new unit, called Siemens Wireless Terminals.

West Des Moines, Iowa-based CE Software Inc said it has acquired product and software technology assets from somewhere-in-California-based Common Knowledge Inc that will complement its Internet product plans: the company bought Common Knowledge’s Arrange information management product, as well as the underlying technology, for $400,000 and a three-year royalty agreement, which it says will enable it to deliver Internet and QuickMail-based products on Macintosh and Windows95 operating systems more quickly than otherwise; CE Software said it plans to offer an enhanced version of Arrange for Macintosh within 45 days and the product will work seamlessly with some of the Internet’s technologies including the World Wide Web browser from Netscape Communications Corp; the product details, pricing and other information follow later.

Russia has short-listed bids led by Italy’s Stet SpA and by an international consortium in a tender for a 25% stake in Svyazinvest, a holding company set up to control the state’s shares in 85 local telecommunications companies, privatisation officials said: the international consortium includes France Telecom, Deutsche Telekom AG and Russia Telecommunications Development Corp, representing US West Inc; it said the two bids would be considered over the next month and one would be chosen for final negotiations; under terms of the tender the winner must pay at least $222 for each of the 1.93m shares or about $430m, and invest $400 a share over two years; it is likely to be the biggest single investment in Russia outside the oil and gas sector.

The Electronic Data Systems Corp unit of General Motors Corp has signed a deal with the state government of South Australia to manage the government’s information technology infrastructure, covering more than 140 government agencies and sub-agencies over nine years and worth $426m, with a further $75.5m worth of data processing to be added to the contract: the agreement is the first in the Asia Pacific region, the governement said, and the first time in the world that data processing had been brought together and contracted out on a whole-of-government basis; the Texas firm said as part of the deal, Adelaide will be the home of its Asia Pacific Resource centre.

Japan’s cellular telephone operators have revised upwards their capital spending for the year to end-March 1996 to $11,045m, 27% more than their original plans, the Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications said: the large increase is down mainly to active spending by Personal Handy Phone enhanced Telepoint operators, which increased their investment to $2,759m, 44% more than their original plans, the ministry said; it surveyed Japan’s 86 cellular phone operators, including the Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp cellular companies.

The wireless communications company that combines the celluar operations of Bell Atlantic Corp and Nynex Corp, Bell Atlantic Nynex Mobile said it will invest $200m to upgrade and add to the wireless infrastructure of its New York metropolitan region next year: it is the largest wireless service provider on the US East Coast, with services covering the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions; the company also said it plans to expand its retail operations in New York City with nine new stores and more than 150 new jobs to be added in 1996; the mobile communications company made the announcement in conjuction with the opening of its flagship communications store in New York’s Manhattan on October 28.

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They think it’s all over – well it is for the moment, anyway… just when something comes along on the World Wide Web that a lot of people actually want to use, it collapses under the weight: the Electronic Telegraph version of the Daily Telegraph Plc had been running an on-line version of its Fantasy Football League game, but it was swamped with people wanting a slice of the action, could not cope, and has had to be postponed, to be re-launched in the New Year; the site became the fifth largest in Europe within its first 12 hours of existence, according to the newspaper, and had thousands of subscribers within its first 24 hours; at ú10 a go and with a first prize of ú6,000 it had better be ready for another bombardment come the dawn of 1996.

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