01 July 1999

A CHARGE OF FOUL play has been levelled at BT by smaller telecoms rival Localtel,which has lodged a formal complaint with Oftel. This accuses BT of tardiness in transfer-ring customer accounts to Localtel’s service, which in turn links with Tempo’s free internet portal, The service has recruited 50,000 new customers at the rate of some 2,000 daily by promising connection within eight days. Localtel claims it has been unable keep its installation promise as BT has processed fewer than 300 account transfers a day. Conspiracy theorists believe it is not just coinci-dence that the delays occurred just as BT is trialling free calls to some of its own internet subscribers. Pro-tests a BT spokesperson, all hurt innocence: ‘We are putting more resources into this problem and it is our long-term intention to clear it.’