Thursday, April 28, 2005

Union Raises Questions on BT's Exclusion of Marconi

Amicus, the UK's largest private sector union, raised questions about the decision by BT to award preferred supplier status for its network upgrade to eight foreign owned companies.

In a public statement, the union said it would seek answers on the following questions:

  • If any of the US or other European companies selected have received any direct or indirect public subsidies which enabled them to undercut Marconi by offering lower prices

  • If any of the US or other European companies selected have received
    protection or preferred supplier status from national governments or
    national telecoms companies

  • Why Ericsson was chosen as sole supplier in one of the contract domains, when the stated policy of BT was to seek more than one supplier. (Ericsson was chosen as sole supplier for the I-node domain, essentially the intelligence that controls the services, despite the fact that Marconi's highly regarded Softswitch network software was the only one included in BT's preliminary trials)

Peter Skyte, Amicus National Officer, said "Companies in other countries are able to use their national champion and protected status in their home market to bid for contracts such as the BT 21st Century Network at low or loss leader prices. The strategic decision to exclude Marconi from this project marks the beginning of the end for the UK telephone and telecoms equipment industry, following the same path of other core infrastructure industries such as railway production."