[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 29 January 2006, 13:00 GMT
Post Office launches 118 service
The launch of the Post Office's 118855 directory service
The Post Office claims its new directory service is cheaper
The Royal Mail has launched a directory enquiries service which it says will undercut rivals like 118 118 and BT.

From Monday, the Post Office 11 88 55 service will charge a 40p flat charge for up to two searches.

The service, which the Post Office says is cheaper than the six most popular rival services, could trigger a price war in the industry.

The loss-making division has moved into areas such as credit cards and telecoms as it looks to make a profit.


The directory enquiries industry is worth an estimate 170m a year.

A Post Office survey found that one in three people think current services are expensive.

"Providing a better choice was meant to give a better deal, but people have been disappointed," said Simon Carter, head of Post Office Home Phone.

The six most popular services handle 90% of the estimated 300 million directory enquiry calls made each year.

BT's 118 500 service charges a 40p connection fee, followed by a 23p per minute charge after the first 60 seconds.

A spokesman for the company said BT had no immediate plans to change its pricing structure.

The Post Office already has a presence in the telecoms market, having launched its Home Phone residential service in 2005.

It claims Home Phone is now signing up more than 4,000 customers a day.

Directory reform 'cost consumers'
18 Mar 05 |  Business
Watchdog hails 118 improvements
18 Jun 04 |  Business
Runner tries to derail 118 advert
09 Mar 04 |  Business
Runner wins ruling against 118118
27 Jan 04 |  Business
New directory services fail test
17 Nov 03 |  Business

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific