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Operators to Advise 'National 411' Callers of
Announcement Will Not Be Used for In-State Look-ups
May 17, 1999
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Bell Atlantic plans to get the word
out to its West Virginia customers that charges for certain calls to 411 for
directory assistance may cost more than other 411 calls.
"We haven't seen any evidence that our customers are confused
about the price of our directory assistance services," said Gale
Given, executive director for regulatory at Bell Atlantic - West Virginia.
"Nevertheless, we want to be absolutely sure that they fully
understand that our charge for National 411 is higher than our local 411
service," she said, adding that those rates are below the prices
charged by Bell Atlantic's competitors for similar services.
When a customer dials 411 for listings outside of West Virginia, the
customer will be advised by the operator that the service costs 95 cents.
He or she will then have the opportunity to hang up without incurring a
Operators will not give a price advisory on directory assistance calls for
in-state listings. Such calls are priced at 50 cents each, after a residential
customer has made two free local directory assistance calls in a month.
Business customers pay 50 cents for each call without a free-call
Operators will advise National 411 callers of the charge for a period of 91
days, beginning May 17. This complies with a recent order of the West
Virginia Public Service Commission.
Bell Atlantic - West Virginia introduced its popular National 411 service
April 5. Customers can use the service by simply dialing 411 and saying
the city, state and name or business whose number they want.
West Virginia's directory assistance operators are currently handling
approximately 24,000 National 411 calls a day, some of which come from
beyond the state. The operators, who are based in Beckley and
Charleston, also answer 411 calls from customers in the Washington,
D.C., area, as well as West Virginia.
Competing directory assistance services charge up to $1.40 for all
lookups, local and national, but are not required to disclose their rates.
Consumers often don't know they are likely to pay more when they ask for
a local listing from these services.
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of
the new communications and information industry. With 43 million
telephone access lines and nine 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.