Bell Atlantic-Pennsylvania Offers Free Weekends on Regional Toll Calls

PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvanians can celebrate freedom from weekend regional toll charges starting on the 4th of July weekend. Bell Atlantic customers who are enrolled in the Bell Atlantic® SoundMinutessmcalling plan will get free calls Saturdays and Sundays for the rest of 1997.

SoundMinutes is a flat rate per-minute calling plan that allows consumers to make regional toll calls for 10 cents a minute weeknights (5 p.m. to 8 a.m.) and 15 cents per minute weekdays (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

The free, unlimited weekend calling is a promotional offer which will be available July 1 through Dec. 31, pending regulatory approval which is expected by June 14. Customers may order SoundMinutes now by calling 1-888-FLAT TOLL, operator 9795. The first free weekend will start July 5.

"With SoundMinutes, you can talk as long as you like on weekends and you won't have to pay a penny on your regional toll calls," said Tom Mazerski, Bell Atlantic executive director - consumer toll marketing. "There are no restrictions, no hassles and no fine print."

Also starting in July, SoundMinutes customers will save with a new billing plan for their regional toll calls. Those calls now will be billed in increments of six seconds after the first minute of the call.

In addition, SoundMinutes customers automatically save 10 percent when their monthly regional toll bill is $5 to $19.99 and 20 percent when it totals $20 or more through Bell Atlantic's Automatic Savings plan.

Regional toll calls are calls beyond a customer's local calling area, but generally within a few dozen miles from the customer's home. Pennsylvania has five regional calling areas. Examples of regional calls are those from Philadelphia to Allentown, Pittsburgh to Uniontown, Lancaster to Harrisburg, Scranton to Stroudsburg or Altoona to State College. Customers can find out what communities are in their regional calling area by checking the Customer Guide section in their Bell Atlantic White Pages directory.

With the new billing plan, customers will save after the initial minute of a call made during the week. For example, a call of 1 minute 8 seconds will cost 17 cents during weekdays or 11 cents during weeknights. Compared with the current billing in one-minute increments, the new plan would save callers 9 to 13 cents on that call.

Residential customers can find out more information about SoundMinutes by calling Bell Atlantic at 1-888-FLAT TOLL (1-888-352-8865), operator 9795. Hours are 7 a.m. to midnight Monday-Sunday. There is no enrollment fee for the plan.

Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new communications, entertainment and information industry. In the mid-Atlantic region, Bell Atlantic's telephone company subsidiaries are the premier providers 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.