At the turn of the century, the state-owned General Post Office (GPO)
provided telephone services across the country - in competition with
a number of private local and national companies - and was expanding.
In 1901, the GPO and the private National Telephone Company agreed not
to undercut each other's charges in the London area. However, as with
the nationalisation of the telegraph in 1869, it was argued that private
operators failed to provide adequate services across the board, concentrating
instead on those areas where most profit was to be made. In 1905, the
GPO agreed to buy out the National Telephone Company on the expiry of
its licence in 1911.
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