Philips UK Ltd is investing UKP9m to expand its plant in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow in preparation for UK manufacturing of its top-end 16-bit Zilog Z8000-based Sopho-S 2500 PABX as well as the smallest Z-80-based S50 and S100 systems. The Sopho-S 2500 exchange, which expands up to around 20,000 lines, has just been given UK approval and will be launched officially here soon. Philips says it already has a substantial order book for the 2500 and looks for a 20% share of the UK market by 1989. Philips currently makes telephone sets in Glasgow and it will be making about half of the 2500 model there. The company will be competing with Plessey’s ISDX, Mitel’s SX2000 under the marketing force of British Telecom, and Northern Telecom’s SL-1, which GEC also sells as the iSLX. The Financial Times reports that in 1986, the UK PABX industry achieved shipments of around 400,000 lines, down from a peak of about 500,000 lines in 1985, with total sales valued at about UKP150m. With the imminent arrival public switched Centrex services in the UK, which carry out many of the facilities previously available only on PABXs, and the end of the rush to replace analogue PABXs with digital ones, the UK market is seen as approaching maturity. Philips’ entry will increase competition, and IBM, which still has no digital offering here, is expected to launch fairly shortly.
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