Simunix, the operator of ukphonebook.com, has widened the availability of its Internet corporate directory enquiries (DA) service by introducing what it calls the Corporate Share Account.
With over 3 million UK users, ukphonebook.com is one of the reasons why the numerous 118xxx voice DA services have seen call volumes decline so rapidly over recent years. From a peak of over 800 million calls annually, the market, according to some industry observers, is less than half that figure today.
Simunix CEO, John Lewis has a simple explanation for the decline; “We started to supply a dedicated online DA service to large organisations looking for cost-savings over a decade ago, but as the cost of calling 118 numbers has increased with some charging as much as £3 per call, we were getting thousands of customer requests to make the Corporate service available to smaller businesses.”
John Lewis continued; “No one should be paying £3 just to get a phone number. I think the voice DA pricing has got out of hand. When Ofcom deregulated the service in 2003, it was with the intention that competition would lead to keener pricing and innovative new services. All that has happened is that the market is monopolised by two companies rather than just one and service levels appear to have declined rather than improved.”
The Corporate Share Account is aimed at SMEs, charities, sole-traders etc. that have an important, but infrequent need for up-to-date directory information. The entry level is now set at just £50 per annum and the account can be shared amongst a group of workers – hence the name, Corporate Share Account.
But ukphonebook.com’s Corporate Share Account offers businesses more than just cheap directory enquiries. Users can access such things as Royal Mail’s Postal Address Finder data, the UK edited electoral roll, the Telephone Preference Scheme (TPS) data file of registered telephone numbers and access to all of the information stored at Companies House.
Established in 1998, Simunix was the first non-telecom company to license BT’s OSIS directory database and provide free, online directory enquiries to anyone with an Internet connection.
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