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Thus and BT eye C&W's spurned customers

Small businesses may not be good enough for Cable & Wireless, but its rivals aren't holding their noses
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor

The thousands of small firms who are being abandoned by Cable & Wireless (C&W) shouldn't struggle to find alternative telecoms suppliers, with both Thus and BT eager to sign them up.

C&W announced a change of strategy on Tuesday, in which it will lose 90 percent of its existing 30,000 customers. By focusing just on the largest companies and organisations, chief executive John Pluthero hopes to boost C&W's profitability.

According to C&W, 89 percent of its customers generate a total of just four percent of its revenues.

BT, though, believes that it still makes sense to try and sell services to smaller companies.

"We have a healthy business serving SMEs... we'd encourage any company let down by their current telecoms or IT supplier to contact us," BT said on Thursday.

Thus is also keen to take advantage of C&W's customer purge.

"We welcome the new market opportunities that yesterday's announcement by C&W present as it provides us with an ideal opportunity to expand our customer base even further," said Phil Male, chief operating officer at Thus. "We value all our customers and remain keen to grow our business relationship with them by enhancing their customer experience from our existing next-generation network and services," he added.

But it is unclear whether the UK's telecoms operators will be able to cope with a sudden influx of 27,000 potential customers.

"At the lower end of the market, the services required are less complex. Once you're at the 50 to 70 employee range, you're looking at end to end solutions and even a bit of strategic advice. At the top end of the SME scale, you're generally building customised IT solutions and giving strategic advice on implementation," said BT.

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