11.12.1997Corporate

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




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

First Increase Since 1984


November 12, 1997







Media contacts:

Jim Smith

212 395-7746

212 395-0500


Sharon Shaffer

215 963-6843

412 633-5574


PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- The price of a local call from a Bell Atlantic
pay phone in Pennsylvania, unchanged since 1984, 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 Dan Whelan, president and CEO, Bell
Atlantic-Pennsylvania. "Since 1983 when the price of a call was last
increased, the price of a cup of coffee has nearly doubled, and the
average monthly cable bill is up more than 130 percent."


"Like any competitive business, we need to respond to market
conditions that impact the quality and availability of our service,"
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 those 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 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
Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware, 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.