Tele2 launches assault on BT over cheapest UK calls

Swedish telecoms company Tele2 has launched a PR push that aims to show up BT as an expensive dominant player and position itself as a consumer champion.

Tele2 hired Mantra last month to spearhead its UK launch. Mantra is working on the £300,000 account after winning a three-way pitch.

It has steered a campaign, launched two weeks ago by Ulrika Jonsson, that culminates this week in a Daily Mirror prize competition.

The Swedish company, which provides fixed-line, mobile and internet services in 23 countries, is giving away a million minutes of free call time to winners drawn from the respondents to a cut-out questionnaire in the paper.

Mantra founding partner Lawrence Dore is leading the account and reports to Tele2 European managing director Bill Butler. Dore said the agency’s brief was ‘ninety per cent consumer and ten per cent financial’.

Dore said that Tele2’s campaign would target national and regional TV and print media and focus on the transparency of Tele2’s prices and ‘highlight the fact that you can tell how much you are paying’.

He added that the campaign was not aimed at a particular section of the population, but would instead focus on ‘anyone who is potentially reviewing their finances and the services that they pay for’.

Mantra’s first PR challenge came last week when Tele2 said it was considering taking legal action after BT accused the company of making ‘grossly misleading claims of cheaper phone calls’.

BT claimed that Tele2’s best prices had been compared with BT’s standard rate, while half of BT’s customers are on one of the three BT Together packages, which offer much cheaper calls.

Butler said that he stood by the claims made in Tele2’s advertising campaign that its calls were up to 80 per cent cheaper than BT.

Mantra will also be working with Tele2’s lobbying adviser Politics Direct to push to the telecoms regulator Oftel its claims that BT does not provide value for money.

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