J. Walter Thompson has landed the full-service task of preparing
the country for yet another overhaul of the national telephone codes,
planned for April 2000.
JWT triumphed over Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, Bates Dorland and Duckworth
Finn Grubb Waters for the business, which should be backed by a budget
of at least pounds 20 million over two years.
The pitch was organised by a committee jointly owned by Oftel and the
telecoms operators, which include major players such as BT, Ionica and
Cable & Wireless.
JWT’s plans will have to be ratified by the entire telecoms industry,
which comprises 70 companies - and it emerged this week that the
campaign stands a chance of not going ahead since individual companies
could eschew a joint approach and handle their own communications.
Stephen Carter, the chief executive of JWT, said: ’We’re delighted to be
in at the start to help the telecommunications industry on such a
significant project. It will be a fascinating communications challenge
but we have a lot of work to do with the industry as a whole.’
Eight million phone users will be affected by the code changes. The move
is designed to provide enough codes to last well into the next
However, when the overhaul was announced in January, it led to protests
about cost and inconvenience, particularly to businesses.
The Labour Party called for an inquiry into what it described as a