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BT and TalkTalk at war to win market in small business broadband services

The simultaneous launch of new small business broadband packages by BT and Carphone Warehouse's TalkTalk was a complete coincidence, according to both firms. But the 'everything you can do I can do better' debate between the firms looks set to continue.

Today BT announced price reductions for its small business broadband packages, as Carphone Warehouse's TalkTalk business division Opal announced a £10 per month package.

This was a complete coincidence, but not a surprise, said BT.

Opal said it wants to win 20% of the SME market while BT said its announcements were part of a package to improve its business broadband offerings. The SME sector is a huge market with disparate companies with a wide variety of business requirements. Targeting 20% of these will require extensive coverage as well as a variety of services on top of a connection.

Sarah Thayne, head of propositions at BT, said BT was unaware of Opal's plans and she doubted whether Opal was privy to BT's changes. "But this is not a big surprise," she added.

She said the BT upgrades are something the company has been doing for "some time now."

"It's not just a price change, we are looking at how we can make broadband stronger for small businesses."

Paul Lawton, managing director at Opal welcomed BT's announcement but questioned the timing. "[I] would ask why they have done this now, and why the prices have previously remained so high for so long? I'm sure many BT business customers will be left asking how much money the company was making before it announced such a large cut."

Thayne, at BT, said existing BT small businesses will be able to transfer to the new deals if they wish but this will not happen automatically.

As part of BT's programme to improve its small business broadband offering the company last week launched its Business Value Pack. This gives up to £700 in support at no extra cost.

Opal Office Broadband operates across the group's next-generation network. The company has spent £200m on the network, which now covers more than 80% of the UK's users and supports more than1.4 million broadband customers.

Opal already has 100,000 business customers but expects this to increase with the new offer.

See also:

BT slams TalkTalk's broadband savings claims, 2 Feb >>

Carphone Warehouse aims for BT customers with £10 business broadband, 2 Feb >>


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