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Telecoms giant plans major offensive as cable industry embarks on a ‘make or break’ campaign

BT is planning an all-out assault against the cable industry next month with a 40m campaign aimed at winning back customers who have switched to cable.

TV ads are currently being tested in Scotland and will be rolled out nationally next month.

The ads are targeted at those people who have already switched to cable and tells viewers that it is not too late to return to BT. The ads include vox pops where people try to guess how much reconnection to BT would cost.

One ad actually names cable operators and quotes their tariffs in comparison to BT prices.

However, analysts say that with next week’s launch of a 12m nat-ional ad campaign for the cable industry, BT has no choice but to launch itself aggressively in the market.

The campaign is thought to be the brainchild of BT’s so-called Cable Defence Unit, headed by US consultant Ed Carter.

BT is using similarly aggressive tactics for its mobile phone network, Cellnet, which this week launches the next phase of its ad campaign – part of a 15m spend for the year. The press ads pit Cellnet directly against Orange and compare tariffs.

Both BT and its lead agency, Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, deny any campaign directed against cable is being developed.

Meanwhile, start-up telecoms company Ionica is preparing to offer radio-based phone services from March 26 and a launch campaign through Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe is being developed. Vodafone is gearing up for a new push through its new agency BMP DDB.

Mercury One-2-One has announced a 30m integrated spend for the rest of this year to back the extension of its network.

See Cover story p30

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