01 January 1998

BRITISH TELECOM is counter-attacking the increasing erosion of its market share with the largest cold calling campaign yet conducted in the UK. This involves at least four calls annually to each of its 15m domestic subscribers - sixty million calls in all. The two-tier strategy aims to ensure that customers are satisfied with BT's existing service, whilst alerting them to any unclaimed discounts for which they may be eligible. It will also upsell products and services such as a second line.

The government is rumoured to be ready to grant BT early entry into the cable television sector. The ban, imposed by the Tories in 1991, could be lifted in 2000, a year ahead of schedule, allowing BT to use its dominant position in telecommunications to muscle-in on the entertainment and multimedia industry. Labour pledged in its election manifesto to review the ban, laying it open to allegations of backstairs deal-making [compassion with a tarred edge?].