UK telecoms users continue to turn away from the smaller operators preferring the safe haven of BT, although the company could do better to satisfy users’ demands.

That’s the conclusion of the 11th annual CMA survey of telecoms managers.

Eighty two percent of respondents used BT as their main wireline supplier, a rise from 79 percent from last year (that in itself was the first time that the survey had reported a rise in BT’s market share). The clear loser was NTL, whose market share had fallen from 12 percent to eight percent, Cable & Wireless stayed as it was with seven percent.

BT also dominated the Internet market, 40 percent of respondents used the company as their main supplier, a rise from 35 percent last year. MCI/Worldcom’s marketshare had plummeted from 17 percent to 10 percent.

However, when respondents were asked how satisfied they were with their suppliers, BT was average, behind the clear leader Telewest.

There was better news for the industry as a whole. Capital expenditure was on the rise during 2003, even if companies were spending less on telecoms services – an indication of how costs are falling

The CMA, which represents telecoms and IT managers at major organisations, commissioned HI Europe to conduct a survey of users: 419 responded.

Derek Eccleston, HI Europe’s technology director said that the signs were good for the industry, with more users feeling secure in their jobs and with expenditure on the increase. He pointed out that some of the alternative operators were still feeling the effects of the collapse of the telecoms market a few years ago, although there were signs that they feeling their way back.