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 WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Businesses with operations in Canada and the United States will soon have the flexibility of being able to answer toll-free, 800 calls from their customers at any of their locations in either country, regardless of whether the calls originate in Canada or the United States. The new integrated Advantage 800 service, announced today by MCI and the Stentor owner companies, marks a significant improvement over current call routing capabilities.
 Advantage 800 service will become commercially available by year- end. With the introduction of 800 number portability in Canada in January 1994, businesses and their customers will be able to use a single 800 number for Canada and the United States. (Portability has been available in the United States since May 1.) The combination of Advantage 800 service with the benefits of a single 800 number will provide businesses with a powerful marketing tool.
 "The new MCI/Stentor Advantage 800 service is the first toll-free cross-border service that combines the sophisticated features and routing capabilities of two leading telecommunications firms," said Wes Scott, president and chief executive officer of Stentor Resource Centre Inc.
 "It will offer businesses operating on both sides of the border improved call handling, greater network management capabilities and operational cost efficiencies by enabling them to manage their 800 service in Canada and the United States as a single market."
 "Toll-free service has become an essential business tool and a convenience most consumers couldn't imagine being without," added Eugene Eidenberg, MCI executive vice president of corporate strategy and global business initiatives. "Toll-free calling is used for everything from home shopping and customer service to reservations and customer hotlines. The new MCI/Stentor Advantage 800 service effectively erases the Canada-U.S. border and opens up a whole new world of opportunity for international companies to offer their customers improved services."
 Prior to making Advantage 800 service generally available to business customers, MCI and Stentor will conduct trials with a select set of customers operating in both countries.
 Both MCI and Stentor are committed to ensuring excellent coordination of customer sales and service. As with all MCI/Stentor services, all service orders, provisioning requirements, customer installation and customer service can be provided through a single point of contact. Customers will be billed at current MCI/Stentor rates, depending on where the call terminates.
 Future Advantage 800 service enhancements will include advanced voice processing capabilities, MCI's Enhanced Voice Services -- a family of intelligent network-based 800 capabilities -- as well as cross-border network usage reporting capabilities.
 Advantage 800 service is the direct result of the alliance between MCI and Stentor, announced in September 1992. The service is the third in a series announced by the two companies this year. The earlier announcements were Advantage Vnet -- a virtual private neto?rk service now commercially available -- and Hyperstream frame relay, a broadband packet data service planned for delivery later this year.
 MCI Communications Corporation (NASDAQ-NMS: MCIC), headquartered in Washington, offers a full range of domestic and global telecommunications services. With 1992 revenue of more than $10 billion, the company is the second largest U.S. long distance provider, with more than 65 offices in 55 countries and locations.
 Stentor, an alliance of Canada's nine major telephone companies, provides customers with uniform, leading-edge products and service excellence across Canada and internationally. The nine partners are: B.C. Tel, AFT Limited, SaskTel, Manitoba Telephone Systems, Bell Canada, NB Tel, Maritime Telephone & Telegraph, Island Tel and Newfoundland Telephone.
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 /NOTE TO EDITORS: In the United States, more information about Advantage 800 can be obtained by calling 800-866-6784./
 /CONTACT: Pam Small of MCI, 800-289-0073 or 202-887-3000; or Joanne Stanley or Beverley Smith of Stentor Communications, 613-781-3301 or -3332/

CO: MCI Communications Corporation; Stentor ST: District of Columbia IN: TLS SU: PDT

MH -- DC006 -- 6960 08/30/93 09:09 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 30, 1993

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