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

Bell Atlantic Raising Price of Local Pay

Phone Call to 35 Cents in New Hampshire

Price Reflects Competitive Market Conditions

November 12, 1997

Media contacts:

Jim Smith

212-395-7746 or

Erle Pierce

603 641-1651

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- The price of a local call from

a Bell Atlantic pay phone in New Hampshire 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 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.

"Now, with total deregulation of pay phones, market

conditions will dictate the price of a local call," said

Mike Hickey, president and CEO, Bell Atlantic-New Hampshire.

"Letting the market dictate fair prices will promote the

availability of pay phones because the price will support

the service."

Bell Atlantic-New Hampshire raised the coin rate from

10 cents to 25 cents in June, 1997. "The first change

removed the subsidies that kept the price of local calls

from pay phones artificially low. This second change

moves us to what we feel is a market-based price approach

in New Hampshire," Hickey said.

"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."

After studying the telecommunications market, Congress

last year confirmed that the pay telephone 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, Delaware, New Jersey and Vermont.

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.