New T&T - the telecoms arm of conglomerate Wharf (Holdings) - yesterday announced it had signed a bilateral agreement with British Telecom (BT) to provide external telecoms services between Hong Kong and Britain. New T&T is the latest local 'baby-tel' to announce tie-ups with foreign phone carriers before next month's scheduled deregulation of the service-based long-distance call market. Last week, New T&T also unveiled a bilateral agreement with United States-based long-distance firm Teleglobe. From January 1, Hong Kong's long distance call providers with an international simple resale (ISR) licence will be able to lease circuits from Hongkong Telecom directly, enabling them to buy long distance minutes in bulk to deliver traffic out of Hong Kong. The three independent fixed-line providers - Hutchison Telecom, New T&T, and New World Telephone - have been automatically issued with ISR licences. The firms have been working on agreements with international carriers to deliver traffic into and out of Hong Kong under ISR licences. So far, the Government has issued about 10 ISR licences and received 31 applications. Under the BT agreement, New T&T can route calls to Britain and beyond through BT's long-distance British gateway on a pay-as-you-go basis. The deal is not believed to be exclusive and New T&T can route its long distance traffic through whichever pathway is the cheapest.