Bell Atlantic Raising Price of Local Pay Phone Cal to 35 Cents in Vermont

Bell Atlantic Raising Price of Local

Pay Phone Call to 35 Cents in Vermont

Price Reflects Competitive Market Conditions

November 12, 1997

Media contacts:

Jim Smith

212-395-7746 or

Joan Jamieson

802 863-0797

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The price of a five minute local call

from a Bell Atlantic pay phone in Vermont, first set at a

dime in 1955, will increase to 35 cents from 10 cents, the

company announced today. The five cent rate for additional

three-minute call increments will not change.

The process of adjusting each Bell Atlantic pay telephone

to the new rate will begin November 19 and will take a few

months to complete.

Under FCC rules written to implement the 1996

Telecommunications Act, the price of local calls was

deregulated on October 7 and since then, all major

independent pay phone providers, as well as GTE, BellSouth,

Southwestern Bell and Pacific Telesis have begun raising

rates to 35 cents.

"We recognize that a 25-cent increase is a large jump," said

Louise McCarren, president and CEO, Bell Atlantic-Vermont.

"That's because the 10-cent rate has been artificially low

in Vermont for many years. However, letting prices go to a

market level that is fair should maintain the availability

of pay phones because the price will support the service."

"Like any competitive business, we need to respond to market

conditions," said Lorraine Chickering, president-Bell Atlantic

Public Communications.

"We compete with other providers for the sites where

customers need pay phones," Chickering said. "We must pay

competitive commissions to property owners to place our

phones in their space, whether they are fast food outlets,

gas stations, major airports, or cities responsible for

sidewalk phones.

"We also must charge competitive prices to the users of our

pay phones, and the competitive price that is emerging is

35 cents for a local call," she said.

After studying the telecommunications market, Congress

last year confirmed that the pay phone business is

competitive, ordered it deregulated, and required that

all direct and indirect subsidies of the service be

eliminated. The goal of Congress was "to promote

competition...and the widespread deployment of pay

phone services to the benefit of the general public,"

according to the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

FCC rules implementing the Act, eliminating subsidies

and deregulating prices, took effect in April and October.

Bell Atlantic also is raising the price of a local call

to 35 cents in West Virginia, Virginia, Washington, D.C.,

Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and New

Hampshire. Coin phone price increases will be considered

in other markets as conditions warrant.

The new Bell Atlantic -- formed through the merger of Bell

Atlantic and NYNEX -- is at the forefront of the new

communications, information and entertainment industry.

With 40 million telephone access lines and 5.8 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 21 countries.