UK postal regulator Postcomm began a 30-day consultation March 1 on the proposal to issue a long-term license to Racer Consultancy Management Services Ltd. The license would let it provide bulk mail, consolidation and tracked business-to-business services for UK businesses.
Racer is a distribution company that provides priority mail and courier services for large London-based financial and legal clients.
The news comes less than a month after Postcomm said that Britain's postal service market will open to full competition Jan. 1, 2006, 15 months earlier than planned. The move completes the process of removing the monopoly enjoyed by Royal Mail Group PLC for more than 350 years in the United Kingdom.
Licensed companies other than Royal Mail will be able to collect, transport and deliver any mail, from single letters to bulk mailings, in competition with Royal Mail. They can set up collection boxes, provide collections and deliveries between businesses, offer tracked mail services or mail deliveries at a guaranteed time, among other services.
Companies including Hays Commercial Services Ltd., TPG Post (UK) Ltd., UK Mail Ltd. and Express Ltd. have operated in the bulk mail delivery sector since January 2003, when rival operators were permitted to handle bulk mail up to batches of 4,000 letters, or more for business clients. But domestic letter services are currently the exclusive domain of Royal Mail.
Royal Mail still will be required to provide universal service for first- and second-class mail. This includes one delivery and one collection each working day at a uniform price throughout the UK. It also will have to provide a business mail service on universal service terms. But it will have the freedom to compete on price with services provided by competitors.
Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters