FirstTel Plans to Target Europe from Scottish Base

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SAN FRANCISCO - FirstTel Systems Corporation, a telecommunications software company, announced plans this month to open a design office in the Scottish city of Glasgow.

The operation will employ 50 people and serve as the company's European headquarters.

"There is inexpensive labor in the area and most of our clients are there," chief financial officer for FirstTel, Jeff Jackson said.

"The office should be up and running within the next two months," he added.

FirstTel will use the center to design software for the telecommunications industry.

The company is presently developing and marketing high-end automated software, known as `Service Delivery Systems', for teleservices providers.

"That's what we're going to be there for, although I am not prepared to say which products we will be working on," Jackson said of the multi-million dollar project.

Other than a brief spell in Australia, this is the first time the company has staked out territory overseas.

"We are extremely optimistic about this project. We are sure it's going to be a success," Jackson said.

Scotland is quickly becoming the teleservices center of Europe, on account of the country's cheap labor and the proven selling-power of the Scottish accent.

More than 120 call centers, employing 60,000 people, are located in Scotland, servicing companies such as British Airways, Cable and Wireless, BT and Thomas Cook.

In July, IBM announced plans to build a $19 million multi-lingual direct marketing call center in Greenock, west of Glasgow.

Local politicians and officials have rushed to welcome the latest newcomer to Scotland's expanding teleservices sector.

"FirstTel is joining an increasing number of global corporations which have chosen to locate in Scotland. I wish them every success," Minister for Business and Industry, Gus Macdonald said.

"This highlights Glasgow's strength in two essential components of a modern business location. A sophisticated telecommunications and physical infrastructure and a highly-skilled, motivated pool of labor to sustain future developments," added head of business locations for the Glasgow Development Agency, Stephen Running.

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