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800 PORTABILITY -- OFFERING TRUE CHOICE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY'S TOLL-FREE MARKETPLACE

 COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the most significant changes in the telecommunications industry since deregulation nearly 10 years ago will be 800 portability. Scheduled to take effect May 1, 1993, 800 portability allows a business customer to select the long distance company of its choice to carry its 800 numbers.
 Businesses will have the ability to choose their 800 number and they will have the freedom to choose one or several carriers for their 800 service.
 "The issue of 800 portability will help business customers by offering choices in 800 service alternatives," said Thomas J. Wynne, president of LCI International, one of the nation's largest privately- held long distance carriers. "Because AT&T has an estimated 80 percent of the industry's 800 market, AT&T has the most to lose when portability goes into effect. Rates for 800 services will become more competitive and the service will become more flexible and technically advanced as long distance carriers begin to go after accounts which were previously monopolized by AT&T. LCI plans to dramatically impact this market with competitive pricing and superior customer service."
 There are an estimated 1.3 million 800 numbers in use in the United States, and the 800 portability ruling will affect every business which uses 800 numbers. In an industry-commissioned survey of randomly- selected business telecommunication decision-makers, a margin of five to one said that they think portability of 800 numbers is a "good idea" and nearly 50 percent plan to review their inbound 800 service prior to or once the new regulations go into effect.
 AT&T introduced 800 services to replace collect calling for business customers in 1967. AT&T remained the sole provider of this service for almost two decades. Then with deregulation and the emergence of hundreds of long distance carriers, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1985 assigned particular exchange codes (the three digits that follow the "800") to each long distance carrier. A particular 800 number and its carrier were inseparable. If a customer requested a certain 800 number, the customer was locked into doing business with the carrier which "owned" that exchange code. Or if a customer wanted to use a particular carrier for its 800 services, the customer was locked into using only an 800 number assigned to that carrier.
 For example, suppose a Chicago toy manufacturer requested the number 1-800-TOY-SHOP (1-800-869-7467). Since the first three numbers in this 800 number are "869," the company has no choice but to do business with the long distance company which was assigned the "869" code.
 However, on May 1, all 800 service customers will have the benefit of choosing the company they wish to handle their 800 numbers based on service levels, flexibility, area of coverage, features and competitive pricing. Companies can switch their 800 services to a new carrier while retaining the same toll-free number which is already familiar to their customers. Companies can choose any available 800 number and keep their current long distance service provider for the 800 service.
 "This ruling will not only benefit customers nationwide, but it will also allow long distance carriers like LCI International to compete for a larger share of the 800 market," Wynne said. "In addition, companies can award all their telecommunications business to one carrier and thereby take advantage of cost-saving volume discounts."
 To be ready for the May 1 effective date, businesses should evaluate their current 800 services and the service provider the company now uses. Determine if the current 800 service provider is able to provide service which can grow with your business; if management is satisfied with their current 800 service rates; if the carrier offers cross- product discounting; if there is an 800 number the company has always wanted; if the current long distance carrier is treating your company as a valued customer.
 "It is important that each business understands its rate structure for 800 services," Wynne explained. "The rates should be easy to understand, evaluate and manage."


HOW LCI INTERNATIONAL IS PREPARING FOR 800 PORTABILITY
 LCI International has even established its own 800 Information Line (1-800-860-PORT) which customers and other business people can call at any time to receive the latest information about 800 services. LCI International maintains strong relationships with its customers, local exchange carriers, other long distance carriers and government agencies. An LCI representative currently serves on the industry's committee dealing with 800 portability issues and LCI uses these alliances to constantly evaluate its service offerings to make sure they conform with industry standards and to make sure its services meet the needs of its customers.
 "By becoming experts on the new legislation as well as the technology, LCI representatives are prepared to share valuable 800 portability information with customers so they can better take advantage of these new options," Wynne said. "Customers who choose LCI International to be their 800 service provider are choosing the flexibility that their company needs to stay competitive, the competence their company needs to stay successful and the cost-effectiveness they need to stay profitable."
 LCI International is a worldwide, facilities-based telecommunications company which provides a full line of voice, data and video transmission services to meet the needs of business and residential customers through its state-of-the-art fiber optic network. LCI International, with headquarters in Dublin, Ohio, is a privately- held company whose majority shareholders include New York-based E.M. Warburg, Pincus & Co., Inc., the largest venture banking firm in the United States, and Primus Venture Partners of Cleveland, one of the largest venture capital firms in the Midwest.
 -0- 2/8/93
 /CONTACT: Jim Fette, 614-798-6272, or Jodi Rohler, 614-798-6369, both of LCI International/


CO: LCI International ST: Ohio IN: TLS SU: PDT

KK -- CL002 -- 3971 02/08/93 10:06 EST
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