Norton Telecommunications Ltd acknowledges that the PABX market is becoming tougher and last week outlined a strategy designed to maintain its position as one of the three big distributors after British Telecom with Plessey Communications Systems and Telephone Rentals. The company, now owned by West German giant Siemens AG, has just announced a deal with STC worth UKP2.5m in 1987 for its low-end keysystems. Norton says the market is growing fastest at the low end for systems with under 30 extensions and it has set up a direct sales force over the last year to take advantage of it rather than relying on distributors, which the company can not hope to be good at both technical communications and at running a business. It now employs some 60 people to sell its low-end systems direct. And into this category comes the STC products: the STC SDX40 is a 40-port system that can be allocated to direct lines, tie lines or internal extensions. Norton says it will be STC’s largest distributor for this model. The SDX40E offers up to 60 ports. In the small systems market, the company has an 8% share. In a high volume market such as this one, where British Telecom still retains a 75% to 80% share, growth by an independent supplier to 8% is significant, says Norton. But the most competitive end of the market is the medium to large PABX systems. Norton launched the Ferranti-GTE Omni S1 PABX one year ago and looked for it to expand the Norton share of the mid-range systems market to 20% from the 12% that it held at that time – but it has so far got its share up only to around 15% or so.