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118 888 drops 'half the price of BT' claim

Did they jump or were they pushed? Conduit not impressed with BT's tactics
Written by Jo Best, Contributor on

Did they jump or were they pushed? Conduit not impressed with BT's tactics

With the post-192 switch off directory enquiries (DQ) market shaping up to favour just a few key players, Conduit's 118 888 service has been selling itself as a low cost alternative to BT – only now it seems the price war has turned into a war of words. BT claimed yesterday that it had forced Conduit to drop the 'half the price of BT directory enquiries' slogan that had been splashed across its advertising after the previous incumbent threatened the newcomer with legal action in a letter, saying the declaration was "inaccurate and highly misleading". Paul Elliott, chief executive at BT Directories, said in a statement: "Conduit has no grounds to claim its price is half ours… [Research] showed that operators from both companies take far longer than BT's 118 500 service when answering like-for-like enquiries. People may have been enticed by Conduit's half-price claim but they were actually spending more than they thought because of the longer call-handling time." But that's not the way Conduit views the DQ scrap. The directory assistance provider claims that dropping the half price slogan was on their agenda as the advertising campaign that carried it was already due to finish in September. A Conduit spokesman also revealed that the content of BT's letter mainly took issue with the use of the phrase 'BT directory enquiries' in the advertising material and said the telco was already informed that the 'half price' slogan was on it's way out, having been dropped rather than forcibly withdrawn as a result of the BT's written warning. The spokesman told silicon.com: "If they want to focus people's minds on price, we're happy to do that, because we will win." He added that Conduit's rates were now less than half the price of BT's 118 500 number. The company is now considering legal action over BT's statement. BT was unavailable for immediate comment.
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