Confusion reigns supreme in directory services market

28 Oct 2003

Figures released yesterday by the UK’s telecoms regulator Oftel show that BT Group has lost its dominant position at the head of the country’s directory enquiry services market since it was opened to competition in August. The survey used by Oftel to gauge public awareness of the alternatives to BT’s old ‘192’ service, showed two service providers, The Number (118 118) and Conduit (118 888), to have pushed BT’s new offering, 118 192, into third place. However, it also highlighted the public’s confusion at the array of new offerings available, with the total number of calls to directory enquiry services falling by 50% and complaints about service levels apparently doubling since 192 was switched off. Indeed, concerns about the quality of the service levels being provided by BT’s 15 competitors were further highlighted in a separate study by online utilities comparison website uSwitch.com, which found that 76% of users preferred the old service provided by BT. The study also showed that 69% of people surveyed were unaware of how much a directory service call now costs.

United Kingdom