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AT&T ASKS TO BE REGULATED THE SAME AS OTHER LONG-DISTANCE COMPANIES, SEEKS NEW RULES ON FOREIGN-OWNED CARRIERS IN U.S. MARKET

 WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T (NYSE: T) today urged the federal government to pursue new policies that would let the company serve long-distance customers on the same terms its competitors do both within and outside the United States.
 In filings with the Federal Communications Commission, AT&T asked the FCC to end the company's designation as a "dominant" carrier and treat AT&T just as it does other long-distance companies.
 Separately, AT&T said it won't oppose a waiver allowing British Telecom to invest in MCI, but asked the FCC to implement new rules to govern the entry of foreign long-distance carriers who want to do business in the U.S. Such rules, which would apply to the BT-MCI alliance and other such proposals, would address, for instance, whether a foreign carrier should be allowed to operate in the U.S. if that carrier's home market is closed to competition.
 Alex Mandl, executive vice president and chief executive officer of AT&T's Communications Services Group, said new policies are urgently needed to coincide with federal efforts "to reinvent government and make it more responsive." He contrasted the way current regulations affect AT&T and its competitors.
 "Our competitors can promptly offer new services and worry mainly about whether their customers will like them," said Mandl. "AT&T, however, must notify the FCC in advance of new services, and sometimes our customers face delays in getting new and innovative services that only AT&T can offer and that they need to operate more efficiently in these difficult economic times.
 "It is ironic that our competitors, who are free to do what they please, often benefit from rules affecting only AT&T because they have access to sensitive marketing information we must file with the FCC. I know of no other competitive industry in the United States with such peculiar rules."
 Mandl cited a regulatory action that caused a nearly two-year wait before AT&T could get permission to offer a new public phone that provided access to weather information, a keyboard for electronic mail and other features.
 AT&T said in its filing that the FCC's 1980 policy for regulating the company more closely than its long-distance competitors is outmoded. AT&T was classified as "dominant" and possibly able to exercise "market power" because in 1980 the company controlled most of the nation's local telephone service and because long-distance competition was in its infancy.
 AT&T said the 1984 Bell System break-up ended AT&T's virtual monopoly of local phone service. Also, it noted that the FCC now regards long-distance competition as "thriving" and "robust." AT&T cited MCI's 1992 revenue of more than $10 billion and the fact that British Telecom, a company with $20 billion in annual revenue, plans to make a $4.3 billion equity investment in MCI.
 Mandl said the FCC's resources might be better spent formulating new rules on foreign-based companies seeking entry into the lucrative American long-distance marketplace.
 "In the absence of any comprehensive rules," Mandl said, "the FCC is allowing foreign-based carriers to enter the wide-open U.S. market while American carriers are often kept out of the home markets of these foreign companies. There is something inherently wrong with that."
 In its filing, AT&T said "the increasing pace of entry by foreign carriers into the U.S. makes it imperative for the commission to act promptly if the piecemeal and after-the-fact review of these critical issues is to be avoided."
 AT&T said the FCC should implement rules to assure that before a foreign carrier is allowed to operate in this country, U.S. carriers, within a reasonable period -- two years as a rule of thumb -- must have comparable access to the foreign carrier's home market.
 In addition, AT&T said the rules should guard against a foreign carrier being able to use its market power in its home market to set up a U.S. affiliate and discriminate against U.S.-based carriers. For instance, AT&T said rules should assure that U.S. carriers have the same interconnection arrangements that foreign carriers make available to their U.S. affiliates.
 -0- 9/22/93
 /CONTACT: Herb Linnen, 202-457-3933, or at home, 202-333-9162, or Jim McGann, 202-457-3942, or at home, 301-585-5519, both of AT&T/
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CO: AT&T ST: District of Columbia IN: TLS SU:

CK -- NY042 -- 4663 09/22/93 11:59 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 22, 1993
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