10.22.1996|Corporate

New Jersey -- Hotbed for Regional Toll Competition

New Jersey -- Hotbed for Regional Toll Competition

Bell Atlantic Jumps in with Easy to Understand Calling Plans for Consumers

SoundDialing Flat Monthly Rate Plan Debuts Today


October 22, 1996


Media contacts: Joan Rasmussen (703) 974-8815
joan.m.rasmussen@bell-atl.com

NEWARK, N.J. - In the telecommunications wars of the '90s, New Jersey is a prize territory worth fighting for. The state's residents are big talkers, ranking second only to Californians in the number of regional toll calls they make.

No wonder that Bell Atlantic-New Jersey is arming itself with regional toll plans designed to meet the needs of the three million households the company serves. The newest plan, launched today, is SoundDialing. This flat rate regional toll plan is available to residential customers with prices starting at $10 per month. SoundMinutes, another regional toll plan with free Sunday calling, was announced recently.

Residential customers who sign up for SoundDialing will be able to make all their regional toll calls while paying a flat monthly fee. The plan was designed in response to consumer requests for a set monthly price with no surprises.

Regional toll calls are those made outside a local calling area, but generally within a few dozen miles from a customer's home or office. Examples of regional toll calls are those from Wildwood to Atlantic City, Toms River to Freehold, Morristown to Newark, and Princeton to Trenton. New Jersey has three toll regions.

"Consumers have struggled long enough with complicated calling plans that defy understanding," said Len Lauer, Bell Atlantic-New Jersey president and CEO. "With Bell Atlantic's new flat monthly rates, you'll know exactly how much you'll pay each month for regional toll calls, allowing you to stay within your budget."

The monthly SoundDialing rate will be set for each customer based on that customer's prior regional toll usage. Basic price tiers are $10, $15, $20 and $27.50. Rates for higher volume regional toll customers will be individually determined.

The flat monthly fee will apply to direct-dialed, intrastate regional toll calls and is guaranteed until April 20, 1997. Cellular calls, calls to the 976 exchange, operator-handled calls and Bell Atlantic( IQ( Card calls are excluded. Some eligibility requirements and restrictions apply.

Residential customers can sign up for SoundDialing starting today by calling 1-800- 345-9990, operator 9781. There is no enrollment fee.

New Jersey consumers who prefer simple per-minute pricing can enroll in Bell Atlantic's SoundMinutes intrastate regional toll plan.

SoundMinutes is a flat-rate, optional, regional toll calling plan that allows residential customers to make direct-dialed, intrastate regional toll calls for 10 cents per minute evenings (5 p.m. to 8 a.m.) and weekends and 12 cents per minute weekdays (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.). Free Sundays will be part of the plan through March 30, 1997.

In addition to free Sundays, SoundMinutes customers save 20 percent when their monthly regional toll bill totals $20 or more, through their automatic enrollment in Bell Atlantic's 20/20 Savings Plan. Bell Atlantic also is topping off free regional toll calls on Sundays with another free "Sundae" for SoundMinutes customers -- a Dairy Queen coupon for a free ice cream sundae valid in most Dairy Queen locations in New Jersey.

Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new communications, entertainment and information industry. In the mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is actively developing high-growth national and international business opportunities in all phases of the industry.

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