Verizon Warns Consumers: AT&T Price Increase a Wake-Up Call

NEW YORK -- Verizon Long Distance today warned consumers and businesses to review their long-distance bills to assure that they are on a long-distance calling plan that offers service for a dime or less per minute.

The warning comes in the wake of AT&T's recent announcement that its basic long-distance rate -- paid by customers who are not on a calling plan -- will increase to as much as 30 cents per-minute.

According to reports, 46 percent of AT&T's 60 million customers are not on a calling plan and will pay the higher basic rates that are increasing by as much as 11 percent beginning July 1.

"With Independence Day coming, consumers and businesses not on a plan should free themselves from long-distance rates that could be double what customers on calling plans pay," said Maura Breen, president, Verizon Long Distance. "It's easy to put off analyzing your long-distance bill, but it could save consumers and businesses a lot of money over time if they do. Some customers may have signed up with a long-distance company before competitive calling plans were widely popular or others may have picked a long-distance company without specifying a plan.

"A large majority of Verizon Long Distance customers are on a simple, flat-rate plan and pay 10 cents a minute or less during the day. We've stripped our plans of the small print that consumers and businesses find so confusing. None of our consumer plans have a minimum usage charge and several plans have no monthly plan fee. When we launched in New York and Massachusetts, every customer that we spoke with was placed on a calling plan based on their individual communications needs."

All new Verizon Long Distance residential customers who don't select a particular plan are enrolled automatically in the company's Timelesssm plan at 10 cents per minute with no monthly fee. More than 70 percent of Verizon's long-distance customers are already on a calling plan and the company is encouraging the rest to choose the best plan for them.

"In addition, Verizon provides customers the convenience of getting their long-distance charges on their local phone bill, unlike some of our competitors who charge $1.50 a month for the privilege," Breen said.

Currently, Verizon Long Distance offers four consumer long-distance plans nationwide and one international plan. The company's flagship plan is Timeless with a 10-cents-a-minute rate all the time for direct-dialed, state-to-state calls. There are a variety of other plans, including a pay-in-advance plan, bulk-rate calling, a plan for those who make most calls in the evenings and a discounted plan available exclusively through the Internet.

"There's a plan here for just about everyone, whether customers make a few calls a month or a lot. We encourage any consumers to call us to talk about a calling plan to best meet their needs. And we hope customers of other companies will review their long-distance service and shop for a plan that saves them money," Breen said.

Verizon Long Distance is the nation's fourth-largest long-distance company with more than 5.2 million customers.

Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 112 million access line equivalents and 27 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.