Kingston to team up with BT Cellnet

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The Independent Online

Kingston Communications, the Hull-based telecoms company that entered the FTSE 100 a fortnight ago, yesterday moved to offer a range of mobile phone services in association with BT Cellnet from April.

Kingston will market mobile services in its east Yorkshire service area to business and residential users. It will also offer mobile services to customers of its Torch business telecoms subsidiary and customers of Kingston Business Communications, a telecoms equipment business.

Steve Maine, chief executive, said customers would soon number in the tens of thousands and that start-up losses would be incurred in the first year, although the impact on group-level profits is expected to be marginal.

Kingston plans to charge a monthly mobile subscription fee of £12.60, undercutting existing operators. Local calls will be priced at 8.5p per minute with national calls at 10.5p, subject to further volume and loyalty discounts. Kingston claims this will undercut BT Cellnet by between 10 and 27 per cent.

Mobile handsets will display the Kingston or Torch name, and the company plans to handle customer service calls itself. Integrating fixed and mobile services will result in customers having a combined voice mailbox and receiving a single bill.

Kingston stock closed up 5p at 1103p.