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BT and Marconi to install 28,000 e-payphones

Net access, email, text messaging etc.

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BT has teamed up with Marconi to replace 28,000 payphones with new multimedia devices.

The new payphones will offer Net access, email and text messaging along with traditional voice services.

They will be installed in high street phone boxes as well as shopping centres, rail, tube and bus stations, airports and motorway service areas.

Rollout will begin next April and it's expected that 3,000 multimedia terminals will be installed within a year.

Pierre Danon, CEO of BT Retail, said: "BT working in partnership with Marconi is ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to access the Internet.

"We are continually striving to meet our customers changing communications needs and although more than 20 million adults have logged on to the Internet many people are still excluded from using the web because they don't have access to a PC."

Under the deal, Marconi is investing in the terminals while BT will manage the network, providing content and offering sales and marketing support.

Revenue from the new payphones will be shared but BT said it expected to generate revenues of £50 million by 2005.

News of the deal helped push up troubled Marconi's share price. At one point it was up 4.5p to 51p but by lunch had slipped back to 47.5p, up 1p on this morning. BT was down 6.25p at 255p by lunch.

BT manages more than 140,000 payphones in the UK. ®

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