Agencies fight it out for merged BT work

BT is to merge its home products and home computing accounts, triggering a shoot-out between three of its roster consultancies.

Fishburn Hedges, Bite Communications and Band & Brown Communications are all understood to be in the running for the business.

The combined brief is believed to be worth around £100,000. It comprises consumer PR for products such as BT-branded handsets
and telephones (handled by Bite), and home computing (managed by B&B).

News of the review comes as BT awaits the outcome of an Ofcom investigation into allegations that it sold phones for less than their cost of manufacture.

Home computing comprises PCs and accessories as well as BT's salary direct programme, a government-backed scheme that encourages PC ownership.

FH has been the firm's core consumer retail agency since 2002.
No one at BT was available to comment on the reasons for the account merger.

The review does not affect Lewis Communications' Octane division, which handles PR for internet arm BT Openworld.

The Ofcom probe follows allegations made in April by BT competitors. They claimed the firm's high-street distribution operation, which is part of BT Retail, had engaged in predatory pricing tactics.

Rival Binatone Telecom said BT's increase in share of the cordless phone market – from 40 per cent to more than 60 per cent – was
a result of its aggressive strategy.

Over the same period, Binatone's market share fell from more than 40 per cent to just over 20 per cent.

BT has insisted that there was 'no substance' to the allegations.

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