§ Mr. Peter Lloyd
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and industry whether Her Majesty's Government have made a decision about Mercury's role in international telecommunication services.274W
§ Mr. Kenneth Baker
In my statement of 7 February on the Littlechild report, I said that the Government accepted that the current restrictions on Mercury's supply of international services should be eased. Since then I have held further discussions with both Mercury arid British Telecom. The Government recognises that British Telecom provides a good range and quality of international services, but sees equally a place for Mercury to provide international services. The Government have, therefore, decided that Mercury should have freedom to provide the full range of international services and to negotiate arrangements for these services directly with overseas operators.
British Telecom's status as the primary United Kingdom international operator responsible for maintaining services to all countries will remain unchanged.
BT and Mercury will be discussing the implementation of this decision.