BT's dominance of the UK business market is waning, according to a report from the Telecommunications Managers Association (TMA), which also revealed that UK firms are getting a poor deal on quality of service.
BT's UK position has been threatened by the arrival of a number of smaller telecoms suppliers offering new services at lower prices. Surprisingly, main rival Cable and Wireless has not had a massive impact, increasing its share by just one per cent. BT's share now stands at 65 per cent compared with 73 per cent last year.
"As competition begins to bite in the UK, it's no surprise that the dominant operator should see some decline," said Albert Lee, TMA director and 1998 survey organiser.
The report indicates that the greatest challenge is coming from niche markets where new operators are offering tailored business telephony solutions, including IT integration. "Almost 39 per cent of companies represented are using the new operators and a further 13 per cent plan to make use of them during 1998," added Lee.
The 2,050-strong sample of UK telecoms and IT professionals also said that quality of service from suppliers has a lot of room for improvement. The sample was asked to rate from one to 10, the quality of service from their suppliers. COLT came out top with 7.24, followed by WorldCom (7.0), Kingston (6.85), Energis (6.7), BT (6.38), AT&T (6.18) and Cable and Wireless (6.11).
The sample also indicated that its changing needs are not being met by their suppliers. "There is increasing frustration at the widening gulf between what businesses require for growth and competitive edge, and what the industry is delivering to them," said Lee.
About 76 per cent said their suppliers persist in selling technologies not solutions. "The survey points to nil progress overall. Suppliers are still not listening to what we professionals are telling them," said Lee.