Bell Atlantic Long Distance Plans Beat Competitors
Consumers Save 10 to 50 Percent on Long Distance with Bell Atlantic
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NEW YORK -- Bell Atlantic today unveiled three long distance plans that will save customers 10 to 50 percent or more over our competitors' most advertised rates. The company also introduced a package of local and long distance service.
The Bell Atlantic plans are available to New York residential customers beginning tomorrow (Jan. 5).
For most customers, the Bell Atlantic plans eliminate the monthly charges and confusing restrictions that are the hidden surprises common in long distance calling plans today. For consumers not currently on a long distance plan, the Bell Atlantic plans offer dramatic cost savings. For customers who have a calling plan, Bell Atlantic promises savings and "surprise free" long distance.
"With Bell Atlantic long distance, consumers will be able to call across the country or around the world with plans that offer a great value at the best price," said Ivan Seidenberg, Bell Atlantic chairman and CEO. "Bell Atlantic will provide what consumers have been asking for - an end to the confusion in long distance calling plans and a one-stop alternative for all their telecommunications needs at a great price."
"Our promise is as simple as the plans we are going to offer," said Maura Breen, president and chief executive officer of Bell Atlantic Communications, Inc., the Bell Atlantic business unit responsible for long distance service. "With Bell Atlantic long distance, customers get a better long distance deal whether they make a lot of long distance calls or just a few."
Innovative Calling Plans Deliver 'Surprise-Free' Long Distance
At a news conference at the company's New York City headquarters, Breen introduced Bell Atlantic's initial long distance offerings: "e-Values," "Timeless" and "Best Times." The company said that these plans are the first of many innovative and competitive long distance plans, packages and products for all customers from high-volume to low-volume callers and everyone in between.
The Bell Atlantic® e-Valuessm Calling Plan will be available to any consumer who signs up at the Bell Atlantic long distance Web site, www.callbell.com. With e-Values, customers pay only five cents a minute on weekends and nine cents a minute on weekdays - with no monthly calling plan fees.
"E-Values gives consumers one of our best rates with the simple click of a mouse," said Breen. "It's a win-win plan. Our customers save time, online processing reduces our costs and we pass those savings on to consumers."
Online ordering will enable customers to view their accounts via the Internet, any time of day, 365 days a year. Breen said e-Values will be an attractive option to many new customers. Nationwide, e-commerce traffic rose 45 percent in 1999 and almost three times as many consumers shopped online this past holiday season over 1998.
The Bell Atlantic®Timelesssm Calling Plan for the first time offers consumers an honest 10 cents a minute calling plan - all day, every day for direct-dialed domestic long distance calls. Sixty percent of long distance customers save money with Timeless over the most-advertised plans of competitors. With Timeless, customers pay no monthly calling plan fees and there are no minimum usage requirements.
"The 7-cent or 5-cent plans offered by the big three long distance competitors are phantom long distance plans," Breen said. "These plans can cost customers as much as 16 or 17 cents a minute when the extra charges are calculated, and those extra charges are part of every major plan offered by the big long distance companies."
For most customers, Timeless costs from one-third to one-half less than most competing plans, even though those other plans are advertised as less expensive. The Bell Atlantic® Best Timessm Calling Plan is aimed at consumers who spend more than $35 a month on long distance. Under Best Times, consumers pay five cents a minute during off-peak calling hours (5 p.m. to 8 a.m. and weekends), 10 cents a minute during peak calling hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and a monthly rate of $5.95.
"Frequent long-distance callers save two ways," Breen said. "First, they get a great rate. Second, our off-peak calling starts at 5 p.m., not 7 p.m. like the major competitors' comparable plans. Bell Atlantic gives customers a better deal during one of the heaviest calling times of the day."
Each of Bell Atlantic's calling plans includes a 35 cent-a-minute rate for calling card calls with no service charges.
"Our competitors' calling card rates typically are 69 cents a minute plus a surcharge of $1.25 cents per call," said Breen. "The savings from calling card calls alone will be enough to make consumers switch to Bell Atlantic."
One-Stop Shopping for both Local and Long Distance Service
In response to pent-up customer demand for simple, competitively priced one-stop shopping, the company also unveiled "The Bell Atlantic Complete Offer." For $19.99 a month, consumers get local phone service; long distance calling for 10 cents a minute, at any time, any day of the week; and up to eight additional calling features, such as Caller ID, Call Waiting and Three-Way Calling.
"Consumers can now make one call to get one bill and one competitive package for both local and long-distance service from Bell Atlantic - the company they know and trust," said Breen.
Bell Atlantic's new suite of long distance services will be launched through an aggressive print and television advertising campaign featuring company spokesman James Earl Jones. The ads will begin Jan. 5 in the New York City, Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton, Elmira, Utica and Watertown markets.
Bell Atlantic received permission to enter the long distance market from the Federal Communications Commission on Dec. 22.
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With more than 43 million telephone access lines and more than 10 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 23 countries.