Bell Atlantic Proposes Steep Discounts on Packaged Local and Toll Service and Popular Calling Features in New Jersey

Bell Atlantic Proposes Steep Discounts on Packaged Local and Toll Service and Popular Calling Features in New Jersey

Consumers Are Winners as Bell Atlantic- Offers Uncomplicated Plans

May 18, 2000


Soraya Rodriguez ,

NEWARK - Customers looking for low telephone prices and the most popular calling features get what they want under a new plan. The Bell Atlantic plan packages local and toll calling in New Jersey with Touch-Tone service and three other popular features while keeping New Jersey prices among the most affordable in the nation. The plan gives customers an 18% discount over current rates.

"This innovative plan allows New Jersey residents to take advantage of affordable, surprise-free bundles of calling minutes and features, something our customers tell us they want," said William M. Freeman, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic-New Jersey. "At the same time, our proposal makes sure the Garden State remains a leader in bringing the advantages of state-of-the art communications to everyone. The public has embraced similar bundles of competitive service packages in New York and in the wireless marketplace."

Bell Atlantic's plan includes a guarantee that residential local service prices will not rise for two years after approval. The company filed the proposal, called the Competitive Telecommunications Plan, with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. This proposal will not increase revenues for Bell Atlantic. The pricing restructure was filed as part of Bell Atlantic's plan to recognize competition in all telecommunications markets in New Jersey. "We need the flexibility to respond to competition in a timely manner so that customers can realize fully the benefits of competition-choice, innovation and savings." said Freeman. The BPU must approve the plan before it can be offered, but, if approved, the plan would take effect Jan. 1, 2001.

The plan also includes discounts for low-income customers, a continued commitment to provide high-speed Internet connections to the state's schools and libraries, and assurances of continued high levels of service quality. To meet the individual needs of customers, the filing retains three local calling options. Each package price includes Touch-Tone and three other popular calling services, plus 25 minutes of regional toll calling. Customers could use the toll allotment, based upon their own individual needs, to call any place within their regional calling area, regardless of the distance and time of day. However, customers would be able to choose the local service package they need: "low" at $15.00, "moderate" at $16.00, and "unlimited" use at $17.50. As a result, every Bell Atlantic residential customer in New Jersey would have a package of features, flexible toll calling, and one of the three local calling options.

The unlimited package would be the best deal for customers since it provides an 18 percent discount from the cost of the same services sold separately, an average monthly savings of $3.85 for the vast majority of customers. Bell Atlantic's basic residential exchange prices have not changed since 1985. "I cannot think of any other service with comparable value that can make this claim," said Freeman.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With more than 44 million telephone access lines and more than 20 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.