Far from providing a better and cheaper service, the recent de-regulation of BT’s directory enquiry monopoly has proved to have extremely costly implications for small and medium-size businesses across the UK. With over 80% of all directory calls being made from the workplace and only a fraction of these for business purposes small and medium sized businesses are bearing the brunt of these creeping costs. As an example, 20 calls to The Number (118 118) a week can clock up north of £400 a year for the average British firm. In a bid to maintain revenues since de-regulation in August 2003, and combat an ever-diminishing telephone directory enquiry customer base, BT introduced connection charges of 40p which when combined with a per minute charge of 15p means that a one minute call is 37% more expensive than prior to de-regulation. BT is not alone in this price strategy. The other market leader – 118118 – is also more expensive than the pre-deregulation BT service and the low price promise of other players has been abandoned (eg. 118888) Further, costs can spiral out of control when you consider that many telephone services offer call connection at very high rates. Is it any wonder therefore that since 192 was switched off in August 2003, public demand for telephone directory services has dropped by 40% – put down by analysts to the confusion over multiple services and the related dissatisfaction over those services and costs. There’s never been a better time or reason for companies to adopt an online approach to directory needs. This is well illustrated by the fact that, with its free DQ service and Electoral Roll data, 192.com has experienced a doubling of its directory enquiry volume since voice de-regulation.

Beyond spend control, 192.com’s easy-to-use service offers access to more than four times the amount of data offered by voice services, making it much more likely to get an answer to an enquiry. it’s a very effective remedy to the burgeoning costs to business of voice directory services.