For sale: Bulldog's customers

As predicted, Cable & Wireless is to sell off its Bulldog residential customer base — although it's not clear who will buy it

Cable & Wireless has announced it is looking for a buyer for the customer base of its residential broadband arm, Bulldog, despite the fact that the provider is still taking on new customers.

Faced with "free" broadband offers from the likes of Carphone Warehouse and Orange — not to mention a barrage of criticism over its customer service — Bulldog's parent company decided in early June it was time to stop marketing or taking new call-centre orders for Bulldog.

At the time, Cable & Wireless said it will concentrate on selling wholesale broadband services instead, sparking speculation that it might sell Bulldog. Now, however, the sale of Bulldog's customer base has become a reality.

"It allows us to simplify our relationship with our wholesale customers, by making clear that we will not compete with them, and to simplify our operations," Cable & Wireless said on Monday.

At the time of writing, Bulldog was still soliciting new customers through its Web site, a practice that observers say makes sense under the circumstances.

"If they're looking to sell on the customer base, it obviously makes sense for them to have as many customers as possible," Jupiter Research's Ian Fogg told ZDNet UK on Monday.

"It's fairly unusual for the existing customers to even have the possibility of knowing that their ISP is up for sale," Fogg continued, adding: "They have a choice of whether they're going to subscribe to Bulldog on that basis or wait it out — they have the chance to make an informed decision."

A spokesperson for Cable & Wireless said that Bulldog will "continue to provide" for its customers, and is "not going to be switching them off".

It is unclear who will make a bid for the customer base, described by Fogg as a "fairly modest" number.


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