Telecoms Newsline


Telecoms Newsline

Date: Fri, 31 Mar 1995 20:55:37 GMT
Subject: Telecoms Newsline

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 1995 16:12:20 GMT
From: Peter Judge <>
Subject: Telecoms Newsline

I am writing to announce an electronic newsletter which I edit, covering
the UK telecoms market. The journal content is independent, but
sponsored by Hewlett-Packard.

I attach one sample issue.
Peter Judge
Technology Appraisals, 82 Hampton Road Twickenham TW2 5QS UK
Tel: +44 181 893 3986

***************** <<<TELECOMS NEWSLINE>>> *******************
****An Electronic News Service for Telecoms Professionals****
*******************Issue 6: 21 March 1995********************
(Link inactive 3 August 2004)

Some back issues at:
(Link inactive 5 January 2006)

Welcome to Telecoms Newsline, a new bi-weekly newsletter distributed
free of charge across the Internet.

Telecoms Newsline is bringing news, issues and controversial comment on
all important aspects of the Telecommunications Industry, directly to
your workstation.

Telecoms Newsline is sponsored by Hewlett-Packard and edited by Peter

To subscribe to future issues and to find out what is really happening,
and going to happen, in your industry simply send a message to

We welcome feedback from readers. If you have any comments on Telecoms
Newsline please mail them to <>. To cancel
your subscription please send mail to <>


Stooping to Conquer

It seems BT is to pose as the nation's champion. On March 10th, BT's
chairman Sir Iain Vallance used a lunch for the charity Childline as a
forum to criticise the government's policy of banning BT from
broadcasting activities. He insisted that regulatory measures were
impeding BT's ability to compete internationally and were a disservice
to consumers.

BT was prohibited from involvement in broadcasting by the 1991 so-called
Duopoly Review, to encourage investment in the local loop by the cable
TV operators. It is likely that the ban will be lifted in 2001. BT has
lobbied hard to have the restriction lifted sooner, claiming it needs
the income generated by new interactive services to finance building the
UK's superhighway. It also argues that BT is the only company with the
resources and technology to undertake such a feat.

However, an annual survey, by the American company National Utility
Services, came to radically different conclusions. The report infers
that 'regulatory structure in the UK [is] stifling competition rather
than promoting it' and points out that more than ten years after
telecoms liberalisation in the UK, BT still accounts for almost 90% of
the market.

The report particularly criticised the price cap set by Oftel on a
basket of BT's services of the retail prices index less 7.5% (RPI-7.5%),
arguing that it has allowed BT to slash call charges selectively,
thereby dramatically reducing its much smaller rivals' operating
margins. The report noted that in areas where BT is facing little
competition, notably local calls, prices have remained constant whereas
long distance national calls fell by 12% this year and international
call prices were reduced by an average of 20%. Only Australia and
Belgium charge more for local calls.

The survey confirmed that Germany is by far the most expensive country
for domestic and international calls. The International
Telecommunications Price Survey is published by National Utility
Services and covers 10 countries. For more details call 0181 681 2500.

One-2-One: free calls take their toll

Mercury One-2-One, the personal comms system (PCN) operator has put its
prices up and introduced service charges - a surprising move in the
deeply competitive UK cellular market. None of the other three
operators are planning such increases.

According to One-2-One, the increases are due to the huge demand for the
PersonalCall tariff and the on-going costs of providing customers with
the service and customer support that One-2-One offers. In other words,
providing free local calls is taking its toll.

PersonalCall will now cost UKP 15 (+VAT) per month rental charge. In
future, customers will have to pay UKP 30 to be reconnected, UKP 2.50
for inclusion in BT's phone directory and UKP 10 for a direct debit
failing or a cheque bouncing.

One-2-One is also offering a new PersonalCall package which will allow
subscribers to make international calls at the weekend for 15% below
prices charged by BT. This option will cost an additional UKP 1.50 per

In December, One-2-One claimed to have 205,000 subscribers; it is
thought that number is now nearer 250,000. Hutchison's Orange PCN
service is believed to have around 100,000 subscribers. For a UKP 15
monthly rental charge it offers 15 minutes of free airtime, on or
off-peak, but this does not include calls to other mobiles,
international calls or calls to an answering service.

France: Telecoms at the heart of corruption purge

France's corruption purge is keeping the nation entertained. One of its
most eminent businessmen Pierre Suard, the chairman of the world's
largest telecoms equipment supplier Alcatel Alsthom, has been indicted
and barred from doing his job, pending investigations. The company is
accused of over-billing France Telecom by more than FFr 700m and using
bribery to gain contracts. Mr Suard is personally accused of improperly
using company funds for alterations to his home and the installation of
a FFr 3.4m security system.

Alcatel is supporting its chairman, dismissing the allegations as
industrial sabotage and/or political skullduggery. The bribery
allegations implicate some politicians and the French presidential
election is imminent.

There is no silver lining - Alcatel's revenues last year are thought to
amount to around FFr 4bn, a sharp fall from just over FFr 7bn in 1993.

Germany: MFS leaps into Frankfurt

MFS has signed a deal with the city of Frankfurt to build a fibre optic
network to provide banks and financial institutions with alternative
telecoms services. This promises to be the first breach of Deutsche
Telekom's services and infrastructure monopoly. Under 1993 legislation,
construction of fibre rings of up to 25km are permitted and a number of
licences have been awarded.

However, MFS is spectacularly well placed to make the most of this
opportunity. It has built state of the art fibre rings in a number of
US cities and London where, in under a year, it has signed up more than
100 customers, each with a minimum telecoms spend of UKP 50,000.

Frankfurt is to be the home of the European central bank and wants to
rival London, New York and Tokyo as a financial centre. This aim has
been hampered by expensive and inflexible telecoms, mostly running on
slower copper cable.

Fears that German business will suffer unless a framework for the
liberalisation of telecoms is put in place soon prompted Deutsche
Telekom's acting chairman, Wilhelm Boetsch, to press the government to
reveal its plans. He is worried that unless information is available
soon, he could not see how the largest privatisation to date - that of
DT - could go ahead. He says investors need to know what competition DT
will face. The telecoms minister, Wolfgang Botsch, said all would be
made clear later this year.

HP/Intel chips on the way

Intel and Hewlett-Packard have completed the architecture design to
merge their chip architectures. According to the man in charge, Rich
Sevcik, general manager of HP's Systems Technology Group and an HP
vice-president: 'We can ultimately make this architecture the
industry-wide de facto standard.'

Work began in 1994 to combine Intel's massively successful x86 chip
series with Hewlett-Packard's PA RISC architecture. Initial chip
implementations and object code translation software are on schedule.
'We've completed simulations, and we know that we will achieve binary
compatibility for both x86 and PA,' said Mr Sevcik. 'The teams are
enjoying working together.'

Meanwhile, the relationship could expand. No details are available, but
continuing meetings between HP's Lew Platt and Intel president Andy
Grove have apparently opened up other areas for co-operation.

Oftel probes international call rates

Oftel's Director General, Don Cruickshank, is to investigate the
interconnect rates behind new tariffs for international calls offered by
BT and Mercury. On 9th March BT introduced City to City tariff for
certain international calls, while Mercury already has a similar scheme
in place called Marketlink. Both services are aimed at large business

Mr Cruickshank explained why he felt obliged to take action saying, 'BT
and Mercury are the only companies with full international licences and
it is important that neither of them abuse that privileged position by
anti-competitive behaviour.'

Both companies are facing fierce competition for big business accounts
from MFS and Colt who do not have full international licences and so are
obliged to pay hefty interconnect fees to use BT and Mercury's
international facilities.

In some instances these interconnect fees are higher than the prices BT
charges its customers, making it impossible for other operators to
compete at BT's prices without running at a loss. In Mercury's case,
the interconnect rates are generally lower than the retail prices, but
Mr Cruickshank wants to know 'whether the differential is adequate' and
will issue a Determination in due course. The new rates will be

Energis not affected by Grid flotation - but problems remain

It is looking increasingly likely that the 12 Regional Electricity
Companies (RECs) who jointly own the National Grid will float it on the
stock market in the summer. However, a spokesman for the National Grid
and the RECs said that the National Grid's telecoms arm, Energis would
not be affected by the event.

Energis would not comment on the matter, nor on speculation that the
RECs are anxious to rid themselves of Energis because it is losing money
hand over fist. Apart from the contract to carry all the BBC's national
TV and radio stations, the only other major accounts Energis has won are
to provide Hertz UK's phone services and vision circuits for Reuters.

Energis launched its services last September, six months behind its
original schedule and has again deferred the launch of its residential
service until May.

HP labs live

You can't be a leading high-tech company without a World Wide Web site
featuring news and product information. Hewlett-Packard has gone one
better, by putting its research labs on-line as well.

The HP Labs server includes a tour of Hewlett-Packard's Bristol
laboratories, as well as others in the US and Japan. For those wanting
more reading, to supplement Telecoms Newsline, it also holds abstracts
of several hundred technical papers from HP's staff, which can be
searched by keyword.

Gems include 'Video on Demand Session Management' (1995), 'External,
Network-Wide Monitoring of SS7 Networks: A Solution to Managing Digital
Telecommunications Networks' (1993) and the rather ominous-sounding
'Orphan Elimination in Distributed Object-Oriented Systems' (1990).


As of May 1996, this link was no longer functional and
we have been unable to find a working URL for this site.


* Hewlett-Packard's home page is at *
* HP Labs' home page is at (Link inactive 3 August 2004) *

(c) 1995 Hewlett Packard Co. This publication is free for the Internet
community and may be reposted without restriction.

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Original posting date: 
Sunday, July 30, 1995
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