Bell Atlantic Protests AT&T's Broken Promise To Share Savings With Customers

Bell Atlantic Protests AT&T's Broken Promise To Share Savings With Customers

June 30, 1997

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Michel Daley



Communications Commission (FCC) over AT&T's decision to put hundreds
of millions in access charge savings in its own pocket instead of
passing them on to all its customers. The long distance company last
week backed out of a promise it made to customers earlier this year.

"It is unthinkable that with revenues of more than $50 billion last
year, AT&T would refuse to share these savings with all of its
customers," said James G. Cullen, vice chairman - Bell Atlantic. "It
means millions of AT&T customers will be denied price breaks that are
rightfully theirs."

Access fees are paid by long distance companies to complete calls on
the local telephone network. Bell Atlantic and other local telephone
companies agreed to significant reductions in those charges with the
understanding that the savings would be shared with all long distance
customers. The reductions take effect tomorrow.

In May, AT&T encouraged the FCC to reduce access fees by promising
that it would reduce basic long distance rates for weekdays and
evenings by five percent. Night and weekend rates would fall by 15
percent. AT&T now threatens to snatch those savings from the hands
of these customers.

In its filing to the FCC, Bell Atlantic urged the agency to ignore
AT&T's "regulatory blackmail" and ensure that all long distance
customers reap the benefits of the new access charge reductions.

Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, Bell Atlantic's telephone company subsidiaries
are the premier providers of local telecommunications and advanced
services. Globally, it is one of the largest investors in the
high-growth wireless communication marketplace. Bell Atlantic also
owns a substantial interest in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and
is actively developing high-growth national and international business
opportunities in all phases of the industry.