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Events in telecommunications history

1993

Skyphone, a consortium comprising BT, Singapore Telecom and Norwegian Telecom, launched the world's first airborne fax service. Singapore International Airlines were the first to introduce the fax service on its fleet of Boeing 747s.

BT and MCI, the second largest carrier of long distance telecommunications services in the United States, announced a joint global alliance through a new international joint venture company in June, codenamed NewCo. The joint venture was launched as Concert Communications.

Virtually all the remaining shares in BT left to the Government from the first and second share offers were sold in BT3, a third flotation of Government owned shares in July 1993, raising £5 billion for the Treasury and introducing 750,000 new shareholders to the company.

Jetphone was introduced, a fully automatic air-to-ground digital terrestrial flight telecommunications system operating on a cellular principle designed to cover, initially, Western Europe. The system offered onboard voice, data and facsimile services to passengers and crew, providing access to both public switched telephone networks (PSTN) and private networks in more than 200 countries.

Mercury Communications launched its One-2-One mobile telephone service.

The National Weekend Rate, introduced in December, cut the cost of long distance calls by up to 60 per cent so that a three minute direct-dialled call to anywhere in the UK cost just 10p at any time on Saturdays and Sundays.

Different rates applied to national weekend calls using the operator, BT Chargecard or BT payphones.

BT created Syntegra in 1993 as its systems integration business to address the opportunity offered by the convergence of the worlds of IT, telecommunications and consulting. Syntegra helped its customers change the way they ran their businesses, advising on business processes combined with the latest IT and communication systems to give a competitive edge.

Typical customers were multinational corporations, major national organisations and communities of business partners. In 1999, Syntegra employed over 4,000 people, half of whom were based outside the UK doing business in over 50 countries, with customer centres in Europe, the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, earning revenues of excess of £400 million per annum.

In December 1995 Syntegra acquired the French systems company, Europe Informatique, followed in April 1996 by the acquisition of the Dutch systems integration company, Rijinhaave. These takeovers were part of a programme of an expansion programme of acquisitions and alliances.

Syntegra was merged in May 1999 with BT's equally successful telecommunications outsourcing business, Syncordia  to form a new division, BT Solutions, to sit alongside the other recently created divisions, BT UK and BT Worldwide. BT Solutions combined complimentary skills of the previous two businesses under a single brand to meet all customer needs for integrated business solutions.

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