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1993 - Mr Major’s Comments on Cable and Wireless

Below is the text of the comments made by Mr Major during his visit to the offices of Cable and Wireless.


PRIME MINISTER:

Chairman, I’ve a particular reason to thank you for inviting me today. I’ve not only seen your marvellous new building, but you’ve saved me a trip to Niagara! I’m not sure how the water sculptures would look in 10 Downing Street - but they’d certainly make a difference to Cabinet meetings.

This is a building worthy of a world class company. And you’re certainly that. Our video conference just now showed how far-flung your operations are. You provide national telephone services for Hong Kong and the Caribbean; international services for the former Soviet states; mobile and data services in Japan, Pakistan, Qatar, Yemen and Macau. That’s only a few of the 50 countries where Cable and Wireless is operating.

By the way, Chairman, I hope you weren’t charging me for those video calls - they’d add up a bit - even at Mercury’s competitive rates.

I’ve been following Mercury’s progress. You’re making one of our policy priorities a reality. You’re a living proof of effective competition in the telecoms market - and that benefits consumers and providers alike. You have invested some 1.5 million pounds on a digital network that far exceeds your licence obligations. By September last year I believe you were handling nearly ten million calls every working day.

I have spoken a good deal in public recently about the importance of Britain’s manufacturing and service industries. Cable and Wireless is a company we can be truly proud of. The Government is backing you. We’ll maintain our pressure for free telecom markets worldwide and we’ll continue to foster the conditions for sustained economic growth here in the UK. Cable and Wireless is ideally placed in seize the opportunities that lie ahead.

I am therefore delighted to open this new headquarters building. I wish everyone in Cable and Wireless - wherever you may be - every success for the future.