Bell Atlantic: AT&T Complaint Has Absolutely No Merit

Bell Atlantic: AT&T Complaint Has Absolutely No Merit

Long Distance Giant Steps Up Smear Campaign

December 15, 1999


Sandra Arnette,

BACKGROUND -- AT&T yesterday filed a complaint with the Maryland
Public Service Commission (PSC) accusing Bell Atlantic of trying to "win
back" customers who have switched their regional toll service to
competitors by suggesting they have been "slammed." Slamming is the
practice of changing a customer's local, regional toll or long-distance
telephone service company without the customer's knowledge or consent.
The following response should be attributed to Sherry F. Bellamy,
president and CEO of Bell Atlantic - Maryland.

"AT&T's complaint has absolutely no merit. It's the second frivolous
complaint by AT&T in Maryland in a week.

"The regional toll market is extremely competitive here, and unfortunately,
some unscrupulous companies are trying to gain an unfair competitive
advantage by slamming Maryland customers. We want to be sure
customers are aware that their Bell Atlantic regional toll service has been

"Customers in Maryland have been able to choose their regional toll
provider since May. In the last six months, Marylanders have filed over
2,700 slamming complaints about their regional toll service. There were
well over 17,000 long-distance slamming complaints for the same time

"AT&T knows about slamming all too well. In fact, the Pennsylvania
Public Utility Commission fined AT&T $20,000 in September for
slamming the same customer's long-distance service four times in five

"Now that Bell Atlantic is on the verge of competing with AT&T for New
Yorkers' long-distance service, it's obvious that AT&T is stepping up its
campaign of distortion and deception to keep Bell Atlantic from
competing with it in the long distance market elsewhere."