British Telecom says it has won a mainland contract to supply more than GBP2 million (about HK$25.94 million) worth of videoconferencing equipment. The company already has sold videoconferencing systems to the provincial telecoms authorities in Fujian, Henan, Guangdong and Jilin provinces. The BT system has a Chinese-user interface and allows simultaneous viewing of 16 remote sites on one screen. Another British telecoms company, but one not having quite so much luck in China, is Cable & Wireless. The company is said to have seen another possible deal collapse and has pulled several staff out of Beijing as a result. Both independently and through subsidiary Hongkong Telecom, C&W has been trying to get a mainland venture going for several years - so far without success. Frustrated by lack of progress with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), C&W appears to have tried another route, this time working with a division of the Ministry of Radio, Film and Television (MRFT) on a cable-TV project. With the merging of the MPT, the MRFT and the Ministry of Electronic Industry, the project appears to have folded. The new ministry is dominated by staff from the former MPT. International call rates across Asia are continuing to fall. This week it is Japan in the spotlight. Telecoms group Global One plans to enter the international market there from next month and is promising call tariffs half of those charged by Kokusai Denshin Denwa, the former monopoly which has the bulk of the international market. The Global One rate equates to about 225 yen (about HK$13.20) for a three-minute weekday call during the day between Japan and the US. The service is aimed mostly at corporates.