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Carphone Warehouse sees demand five times higher than expected
Tuesday 18 April 2006 10:16:00 by Andrew Ferguson

It seems the news that no-one could miss last week, about the "Forever" offer from TalkTalk, that bundles line rental, calls package and broadband for £20.99, got the attention of many consumers. 25,000 people are reported to have signed up for the offer by 13th April, just days after its launch (see

This demand for the product is five times more than the company expected apparently, and is a reflection perhaps on how cost conscious the UK consumer is these days. The concern now will be is how fast can TalkTalk get consumers onto the package, and the full suite of services up and running.

If demand for the service is very high, then it may prove very costly if it has to place hundreds of thousands of customers on a BT Wholesale IPstream service as it rolls out the fully unbundled service. A single 622Mbps BT Central that can support up to 32,000 users costs around £140,000 per month, and each ADSL line has a charge of £8.40 per month. There are also long lead times of something like sixty working days to install a large BT Central, so if demand continues to exceed expectations there may be delays for customers.

It is not impossible that TalkTalk may move people onto the phone part of package at £20.99, using wholesale line rental to offer the calls package, and since the broadband is simply a free service, connect people up to this as and when possible. The contract seems to allow for the start of billing from when the calls part is up and running, rather than having to provide the free broadband service at the same time.


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