Mercury Callpoint Ltd has a base station site acquisition agreement with Trusthouse Forte Catering Ltd and, in doing so, is the first Telepoint operator to announce such a contract (CI No 1,217). The British Telecommunications Plc-led Phonepoint Ltd consortium has struck a similar deal with Granada Service Stations, for around 27 sites, and should make […]
Mercury Callpoint Ltd has a base station site acquisition agreement with Trusthouse Forte Catering Ltd and, in doing so, is the first Telepoint operator to announce such a contract (CI No 1,217). The British Telecommunications Plc-led Phonepoint Ltd consortium has struck a similar deal with Granada Service Stations, for around 27 sites, and should make the deal public this week. Granada, which is also talking to Callpoint, only made its sites available for Telepoint services after pressure from the Department of Trade & Industry. All four operators have site acquisition agreements but have so far declined to make them public. Callpoint, of Camberley, Surrey, is the first to announce a deal; it covers around 1,000 sites, including outlets such as Little Chef and Happy Eater. There will initially be 400 sites, mainly on trunk routes. The Department does not permit exclusive base station site deals, but Callpoint claims it will now be TrustHouse Forte’s preferred supplier in cases where the leisure chain doesn’t place base stations from more than one operator. Launching with several hundred sites, by the end of the year, Callpoint plans 2,500 base station sites within 12 months. Tony Warwick, Mercury Callpoint executive director, concedes that the recently announced Personal Communications Network will eventually take over from Telepoint, but maintains that the time, cost and complexity in establishing a PCN infrastructure means that it will not be a real threat to Telepoint for some decades. Callpoint’s phones will retail at UKP150. Ferranti Creditphone will start with at least 1,000 base stations this summer, and it claims to be adding 100 base stations per week. Ferranti’s launch of Zonephone, which will include TV advertisements, will focus exclusively on London before going nationwide. And unlike Callpoint’s, Ferranti’s phones will be rechargable, rather than battery operated. Rival Telepoint operators came face to face for the first time this week, as Callpoint, Phonepoint and the Philips-led BYPS Communications Ltd exhibited their Telepoint products at the Lifestyles 2000 Exhibition. Phonepoint decided against exhibiting, but is thought to be vying with Ferranti in the race to launch services first. Despite Department of Trade & Industry demands that it should be a completely separate entity from British Telecom, Phonepoint still shares offices with British Telecom at Mobile House in Euston, London. Meanwhile, industry sources suggest that the BYPS Communications camp may not launch services for around a year, possibly even delaying until the introduction of the Common Air Interface, in late 1990. It has yet to decide whether to take its phones from Shaye Communications Ltd, which it manufactures, or Ferranti. The Daily Express Lifestyles 2000 Exhibition runs to Sunday July 16 at Olympia.