Uunet has abandoned plans to launch its fax over the Internet product in the UK.
Uunet, owned by MCI Worldcom, launched Uufax in the US three years ago, but despite repeated promises that the service would launch in the UK, has decided the market here is no longer right.
The company, which provides Internet services for business, has consistently denied that Uufax was unsuitable for the UK market. Right up until two months ago it said a UK launch for Uufax was 'imminent'.
But the plug has been pulled on Uufax in the UK because of dramatic market changes in the three years since its global announcement, according to contacts within Uunet. Email is now the communications method of choice for many UK businesses, so demand for an Internet fax service has weakened, sources told VNU Newswire.
The company announced Uufax in July 1997, hailing it as a big money saver for corporates using traditional voice networks for business faxing. It promised cost savings of between 35 per cent and 55 per cent.
But Uunet came under heavy criticism for stalling its UK launch. Some observers doubted the appeal of using the Internet to send faxes, saying that although it did seem a good idea a few years ago, due to the rapid take up of email, it is likely to fall short of expectations. (see Newswire 6 January 1999)
There is still money to be made from Internet fax services. According to analysts Schema, revenue from IP fax services will reach $50 million next year, and $400 million by 2005.
Uunet in the UK is concentrating its efforts on its new Webcasting service, called Uucast, due to be announced later this month and exclusively revealed by VNU Newswire last Friday. (see Newswire 13 August 1999)
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