British postal giant Royal Mail faces further competition after signing a deal to open up its distribution network to Dutch rival TPG.

Under the agreement, TPG Post UK will gain access to RM's nationwide network of sorting offices and delivery workers. It plans to begin a national business mail service under its TNT brand by August.

"We have a well-recognised brand, and credibility, and what's more we're keen as mustard," declared Nick Wells, head of TPG's UK arm. "We want to be the second-biggest player in the UK postal market and main challenger to Royal Mail."

This is the second access deal RM has agreed since reluctantly ceding its exclusive postal rights in principle three years ago. The first, finalised in February this year, was with Business Post [WAMN: 12-Feb-04].

RM will charge TPG £0.13 ($0.24; €0.20) to £0.1375 per item, the same as under the Business Post deal. The Dutch group, which will collect mail from businesses then hand it over to RM, is yet to reveal how much its service will cost customers.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff