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November 7, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Toll-free telephone services company Service 800 Ltd has added a credit card offering to its portfolio as it seeks to further diversify from its maintream business. The Switzerland-based parent company International 800 Telecom expects a surge in demand for toll-free services following the removal of European trade barriers in 1992 but will also lose market shares to PTTs waking up to this market niche, says President Jacques Couvas. The credit card initiative therefore joins other diversified activities such as the Telemarketing service started last year and Service 800 will introduce its 14-digit card in three phases. Available immediately is a version allowing calls outbound from the US which is being sold in Europe, the Middle and Far East and North America. This will compete with AT&T’s credit card offering for US residents. Phase Two cards will enable calls to be made to the US from eight European countries but using the cheaper US outbound tariffs. Service 800 currently has reached agreement with PTTs in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK, but a deal with the high – international – rate – charging Deutsche Bundespost has so far eluded the company. The final edition will supply credit card calls from a minimum of 12 countries to anywhere in the world, given that approval is forthcoming from the PTTs. Service 800 will provide billing and will strike agreements with PTTs in order to moniter the 800 calls. Toll free telephony works by billing the recipient of the call instead of the originator and with a single Europe will enabling sales to be made from one central office instead of suppliers maintaining a physical presence in each target country, consumer demand will increase. Currently International 800 Telecom deals with three industry sectors, travel, financial and hi-tech where it holds a major account with DEC for supplying a toll free number to customers seeking maintenance and support advice.

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