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April 15, 1987

THREAT OF COMPETITION SPURS BRITISH TELECOM TO ENHANCE RADIOPAGING SERVICES

By CBR Staff Writer

British Telecom Mobile Communications, is, as reported briefly yesterday (CI No 663), adding value to its UK radio paging network ahead of introduction of the paging network services to be offered by Mercury Communications with Motorola and Racal in the next few months. Mercury and Racal were awarded licences to operate radiopaging networks in 1986 and the Office of Telecommunications has ruled that Telecom can be allocated no more frequencies for the moment. The most important of the enhancements is the facility for customers to use their pagers to link into Telecom Mobile Comnmunication’s Voicebank message store and relaying system, which comes from US company Voicemail International. The service, called Message Link, acts like an answering machine for pager users but in addition automatically pages them whenever a call is received in the voice mailbox. The company is also offering a different tariff structure as an option by dividing its 40 UK radiopaging zones into six regional zones across the country, which it says will offers people larger areas of coverage for the same cost. It also introduced two portable terminals, one called Keypage 50 from an unspecified manufacturer and another a modified version of the Rathbone Industries Qwertyphone with liquid crystal display, called Keypage 100, for numeric or alpha-numeric pager users to gain direct access from a computer to the company’s Keypage computer without having to use the Mobile Communications paging bureau. Keypage stores frequently-used pager numbers and common messages. The company also claims that costs will be cut by a scheme called Saver Plus, which enables users to make a one-off payment followed by monthly rentals up to 36% less than current prices. Telecom says its radiopaging network now covers 97% of the UK population and the business is growing by 20% to 30% per annum. It claims to have an 80% share of the UK market with 370,000 customers.

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