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Thursday, July 1, 1999 Published at 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK

Business: The Company File

Customers flock to One 2 One

One in four people in the UK now has a mobile

Mobile telephone operator One 2 One says it has signed up 400,000 customers in the second quarter of 1999.

That compares with a figure of 161,000 for the same period last year, and represents an increase of 151%.

One 2 One, which is owned by Cable and Wireless and Media One Group, now has 2.7m customers - nearly twice as many as it had a year ago.

Aggressive pricing strategy

These figures reflect the continued growth in the mobile phone sector, with an estimated 15m people now connected to one of the four main networks.

One 2 One is the smallest of the four, but has adopted an aggressive pricing policy. Earlier this year it announced it was cutting its call charges by two-thirds.

[ image: Fierce competition is bringing call charges down]
Fierce competition is bringing call charges down
This made some calls cheaper than using BT, and One 2 One admitted that it was targeting the telecommunications giant's customers rather than rival mobile users.

What is interesting about One 2 One's latest figures is the continued expansion in the pre-pay market. This involves customers buying handsets and paying for calls in advance through vouchers.

These sales made up 70% of One 2 One's new customers in the last quarter and now represent nearly half of all its subscribers.

However, with mobile phone sales predicted to continue growing at a rapid rate, One 2 One's rivals have also had success in attracting subscribers.

The next biggest player in the UK market, Orange, on Thursday also unveiled its own subscriber numbers, showing a rise of 430,000 to 2.9m.

The figures come on the day that watchdog Oftel said UK customers were still being overcharged by the mobile phone industry.

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