Bell Atlantic Raising Price of Local Pay Phone Call to 35 Cents in West Virginia
Company to Expand Pay Phone Local Calling Areas in State
November 12, 1997
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The price of a local call from a Bell Atlantic
Public Communications pay phone in West Virginia, unchanged since
1985, will increase to 35 cents from 25 cents, the company announced
today. In addition, Bell Atlantic-West Virginia is expanding the
local calling area for calls from Bell Atlantic pay phones throughout
the state, allowing pay phone users to reach more numbers at local
The process of adjusting each Bell Atlantic pay telephone to the new
rate is beginning today and will take a few months to complete. The
enlargement of local calling areas will be phased in over the next
Under FCC rules written to implement the 1996 Telecommunications Act,
the price of local calls was deregulated on Oct. 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 pay phone call is still one of the best
bargains in any market," said Dennis Bone, president and CEO, Bell
Atlantic-West Virginia. "Since 1985 when the price of a call was last
increased, the price of a cup of coffee has gone up 72 percent and
the average monthly cable TV bill has more than doubled."
Local calling areas were expanded several years ago for residence and
business calling. Pay phones will be changed to have the same local
calling area as residence and business phones. As a result, some
calls from Bell Atlantic pay phones that are now regional toll calls
will soon be local calls, resulting in lower prices.
"Like any competitive business, we need to respond to market
conditions," said Lorraine Chickering, president-Bell Atlantic Public
"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 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, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, 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.