Bell Atlantic Raising Price of Local Pay Phone Call to 35 Cents in Delaware

Bell Atlantic Raising Price of Local

Pay Phone Call to 35 Cents in Delaware

First Increase Since 1983

November 12, 1997

Media contacts:

Jim Smith

212-395-7746 or

Sandra Arnette


WILMINGTON, Del. -- The price of a local call from

a Bell Atlantic pay phone in Delaware, unchanged since

1983, will increase to 35 cents from 25 cents, the

company announced today.

The process of adjusting each Bell Atlantic pay

telephone to the new rate is beginning today 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.

"At 35 cents, the local call is still one of the

best bargains in any market," said Joshua Martin,

president and CEO, Bell Atlantic-Delaware. "Since

1983 when the price of a call was last increased,

the prices of a newspaper or a cup of coffee have

nearly doubled."

"Like any competitive business, we need to

respond to market conditions," said Lorraine Chickering,

president-Bell Atlantic Public Communications.

"We compete with hundreds of other providers for the

sites where customers need pay phones," Chickering

said. "We must pay competitive commissions to property

owners to place our pay 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 in the market 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 is also raising the price of a local call

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

Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont 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.