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Directory enquiries newcomers off to a flier

But BT says consumers just want to "road test" the new 118 numbers…
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

But BT says consumers just want to "road test" the new 118 numbers…

Post-bank holiday, post-192, it looks like the directory enquiries newbies have got their hands on the lion's share of the DQ market. While the old BT-run 192 number was switched off on 24 August, the return to work after Monday's bank holiday was expected to be the acid test of the new 118 numbers. The winners look to be Conduit, which runs the 11 88 88 service, and The Number 118 118. The Number has reported call volumes of over 500,000 and expects to pick up around 40 per cent of the market post-deregulation. William Ostrom, director of communications at The Number 118 118, told silicon.com that the company expect the market for directory enquiries to grow to over one billion calls over the two years, in part due to the sheer weight of marketing money being thrown at it, in contrast to 192, which was never publicly promoted. While BT are widely expected to suffer a significant drop in call volumes as a result of the deregulation, a BT spokesman said that relevant statistics wouldn't be available for some days as caller numbers over the holiday weekend would be unrepresentative at around one tenth of those expected during a normal working week. The spokesman said that while BT did expect a drop in calls as a result of the switch-off, he believed it would be temporary: "Consumers will want to road test the numbers, they're in a state of flux over which number is the one for them to use. We've come out on top in tests in the consumer press…and we're confident the service does what the public want it to do – get their number quickly. "While there will be an initial drop, they will come back. It's too early to say how call volumes will be affected," he told silicon.com.
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