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AMERITECH SEEKS TO ENHANCE CUSTOM 800 SERVICE

 CHICAGO, March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- In less than two months, the nation's 800 phone service will change dramatically when toll-free numbers become "portable." Ameritech (NYSE: AIT) seeks to simplify and enhance the new experience for customers by coordinating their interLATA, as well as intraLATA, call needs.
 Ameritech this week announced proposals within its Great Lakes' region to enhance its Custom 800 service to become a "one-stop" shop for customers requiring toll-free service outside local calling areas. Today, these customers must make separate arrangements with other providers. Under the proposal, customers could direct Ameritech to handle their service requests and changes.
 Ameritech also proposes to enhance its Custom 800 service with a service guarantee, and a new rate structure that will offer customers greater flexibility in payment options. Future enhancements include comprehensive call details on bills and one bill for both local and toll-free services.
 "We want customers to count on Ameritech as their single point of contact for unbiased network management," said Elizabeth Stocker, manager of 800 service for Ameritech. "With enhanced Custom 800 Service, our customers can expand market territories, access remote field locations and test different carriers more simply and affordably."
 The portability arrangement ordered by the Federal Communications Commission will give customers more control over their 800 service choices. Beginning May 1, portability will allow subscribers to change providers without altering their toll-free numbers. Currently, 800 numbers are assigned to specific carriers and cannot be transferred when a customer switches.
 Under the FCC order, Ameritech and other providers will implement a national datebase of all working 800 telephone numbers, the long distance carriers assigned to those numbers, and any special instructions customers establish for their service.
 Ameritech will access the database through its Signaling System 7 (SS7) network, enabling customers to request available 800 numbers, regardless of the carrier selected. Ameritech is investing more than $86 million in SS7 technology and switching capabilities to make 800 portability possible.
 In addition to switching providers while keeping the same phone numbers, the database offers 800 subscribers the ability to route calls depending on the time of day or day of week. A customer also could send half of the call traffic to one carrier and the other half to a different one based on the type of service needed. Other features allow customers to route calls on a state or LATA basis and to re-direct traffic in the event of an outage or natural disaster.
 Ameritech is the Chicago-based parent of Bell companies serving Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as other domestic and international companies providing mobile communications, directory publishing, systems integration, lease financing and credit card services. Its 1992 revenues were $11.2 billion.
 -0- 3/30/93
 /CONTACT: Judith Myers of Ameritech Services, 708-248-2156/
 (AIT)


CO: Ameritech ST: Illinois IN: TLS SU: PDT

LC -- CL002 -- 0857 03/30/93 08:16 EST
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Date:Mar 30, 1993
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