Telerate Inc has signed a deal with Mercury Communications in the UK to offer dial-up access to its Telerate financial information service over Mercury’s packet network. Users get access to the constantly updated service for roughly a third the cost of leased line access. Telerate is not working with British Telecom for the UK Telerate Access Service, TAS, because the latter was unable to provide the necessary accounting software to monitor Telerate customers’ use of the service. As part of the deal, Mercury is upgrading the modem capability of its X25 network to offer users both a V.23-compatible 1,200/75 error-correcting service and, by the end of 1987 a Hayes-compatible 1,200bps full duplex service. Telerate is also negotiating with the France’s Direction Ge’ne’rale de Te’le’communications and Germany’s Bund.UJ ON espost to establish dial-up access over their respective X25 packet networks. Access for continental European companies to Telerate’s UK bank of Perkin-Elmer computers and Racal modems will come through British Telecom. Telerate hopes to start these two services by the first quarter of 1988. But first it has to smooth out the problems of incompatibility between the various X25 services throughout Europe. Dial-up access to X25 in the UK can be done, for example, using V23 or V22 1,200/1,200 by the end of 1987. But V23 is unique to the UK, says product marketing and development manager Dennis O’Connor. But dial-up access to X25 in France would probably have to be Hayes-compatible using V22. Dial-up access to Telerate costs about a third on average the price of direct access over leased lines. TAS users pay a UKP150 monthly subscription plus 40 pence per minute on a metred pay-for-what you-see basis and an additional local call rate. Subscribers can use any MS-DOS computer with 512Kb of RAM and a modem. Telerate has been running a dial-up service to its customers in the US for around two years and says subscribers use TAS for an average six hours per month, which amounts to another UKP150 per month on top of the subscription charge. Managing director of Telerate UK, which deals with the rest of Europe, the Gulf and Africa as well, says it is not cost-effective to use the 24-hour direct access Telerate service unless a customer needs over 20 hours of service a month. Only around 10% of US Telerate customers use the dial up access. In view of that, TAS prod-uct manager Hamish Henderson is ambitious in hoping to double Telerate’s current subscriber base of 5%,000 with the new UK service. The company says it will mailshot 26,000 of the 60,000 additional companies it has identified in the UK as most likely to subscribe to TAS. They are UK companies with a turnover in excess of UKP5m; the National Association of Securities Dealers and Investment Managers; independent financial intermediaries; the British Insurance Brokers Association; building societies and small banks; and brokers and dealers.
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