Bell Atlantic Raising Price of Local Pay Phone Call to 35 Cents in New Jersey
First Increase Since 1982
November 12, 1997
NEWARK, N.J. -- The price of a local call from a Bell Atlantic pay
phone in New Jersey, unchanged since 1982, will increase to 35 cents
from 20 cents, the company announced today.
Bell Atlantic -New Jersey plans to implement a Lifeline Service
available at monthly rates ranging from $.90 to $1.89 with up to 100
minutes of use free for eligible low-income customers who might rely
on pay phones for routine calling
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
"At 35 cents, the local call is still one of the best bargains in any
market," said Len J. Lauer, president and CEO, Bell Atlantic-New
Jersey. "Since 1982 when the price of a call was last increased, the
price of a daily newspaper has more than doubled and a basket of food
costs 65 percent more.
"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 must also charge competitive prices to the users of our pay phones
and the competitive price that is emerging in the market is 35 cents,"
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 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, Vermont and New Hampshire. Coin phone price increases will
be considered in other areas 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.