From Dr Nick Beard Sir: Here is a solution to Mercury's public relations mess. Simply allow affected purchasers of One-2-One mobile phones to choose another day on which to make free calls. Callers are likely to select different days, which would distribute the call-volume and thereby avoid another overloading of the network. Administration would be minimal, as callers could simply select the day of their choice after receiving their bills, and subtract the value of calls made that day.

This solution would cost almost nothing (there is a difference between cost and lost revenue, except perhaps in the mind of the most concrete-thinking accountant) and should also have the happy consequence of keeping money out of lawyers' coffers.

Yours faithfully, NICK BEARD Kilmacolm, Strathclyde 28 December