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New phone system, based on Cable & Wireless Intelligent Network, cuts engaged tone on national helpline from up to 20 to less than one per cent

Cable & Wireless, the global telecommunications group, today (9 October 2002) announced a three-year agreement with Samaritans to supply the telephone system for its national helpline. During a one-year pilot, Cable & Wireless has dramatically improved the availability of Samaritans' telephone helpline by better distributing calls around the charity's 189 branches in the UK. Before Samaritans moved to Cable & Wireless, up to 20 per cent of callers received an engaged tone, but this has been reduced to less than one per cent. It is anticipated that Samaritans will also reduce its operating costs by more than #250,000 over the next three years through adoption of the new system.

Samaritans receives over 4.8 million contacts a year, of which 93 per cent are made by phone. The Cable & Wireless telephony platform will ensure that confidential emotional support is available to those in distress 24 hours a day via a single national number. As a caller is more likely to get through the first time, this eases the pressure on volunteers in the busiest branches.

Cable & Wireless is providing LocalCall telebusiness and indirect voice services with web based reporting tools to Samaritans using its UK-wide Intelligent Network. The web reporting tools enable Samaritans to monitor call patterns more closely than before to ensure resources are available to meet increasing demand. Cable & Wireless' experience in both voice and IP networks also gives its customers the option of migrating smoothly to IP, when and if required.

"It's vital for everyone who calls us in distress to know that they will be able to access Samaritans' emotional support service when they need it. The Cable & Wireless solution has increased the numbers of calls that can be connected to a Samaritans volunteer straight away, helping us to reach out to even more people at risk of dying by suicide," said Simon Armson, chief executive, Samaritans.

"Using our Intelligent Network, we have been able to deliver tangible business benefits to Samaritans and our web-based reporting tools enable them to manage the service more efficiently," said Gareth James, president, sales & marketing, Europe, Cable & Wireless. "We are committed to supporting their invaluable work and look forward to a long-standing relationship."

About Cable & Wireless

Cable & Wireless is a major global telecommunications business with revenue of over #5.9 billion (US.6 billion) in the year to 31 March 2002 and customers in 80 countries. The company consists of two core and complementary divisions: Cable & Wireless Regional and Cable & Wireless Global. Cable & Wireless Regional offers a full range of telecommunications services in 33 countries around the world. Cable & Wireless Global's focus is on IP (internet protocol) and data services and solutions for business customers. It has developed advanced IP networks and value-added services in the US, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region in support of this strategy. With its financial strength and the capability of its global IP infrastructure, Cable & Wireless holds a unique position in terms of global coverage and services to business customers. For more information about Cable & Wireless, go to

The announcement contains forward-looking statements that involve inherent risks and uncertainties. We have identified certain important factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in such forward-looking statements. See those which appear, or are referred to, in the cautionary statements section on page 1 of the company's Form 20F 2001.

About Samaritans

Samaritans is a registered charity, founded in 1953, which offers 24-hour confidential emotional support to anyone in emotional distress. Samaritans' vision is for a society where fewer people die by suicide because people are able to share feelings of emotional distress openly without fear of being judged. Samaritans believes that offering people the opportunity to be listened to in confidence, and accepted without prejudice, can alleviate despair and suicidal feelings. It is the aim of Samaritans to make emotional health a mainstream issue. The service is offered by 18,300 trained volunteers and is entirely dependent on voluntary support.

Across the UK, you can call Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 (1850 60 90 90 in the Republic of Ireland) for the price of a local call. You can also write to Samaritans at Chris, PO Box 9090, Stirling, FK8 2SA, send an e-mail to or if you are deaf or hard of hearing use the single national minicom number 08457 90 91 92 (1850 60 90 91 in the Republic of Ireland).

To arrange press interviews with a Samaritans spokesperson, please call Samaritans' press office on 020 8394 8300.

For more information, please contact:

Katherine Smailes

Cable & Wireless

Tel: +44 (0)20 7315 3564


Henny Valder

Brodeur Worldwide (for Cable & Wireless)

Tel: +44 (0)1753 44 88 39



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