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MCI SIGNS NATWEST TO FIRST 'PRE-800 PORTABILITY' AGREEMENT

 MCI SIGNS NATWEST TO FIRST 'PRE-800 PORTABILITY' AGREEMENT
 NEW YORK, Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- MCI Communications Corporation (NASDAQ-NMS: MCIC) today announced its first major contract for 800 business in advance of the March 1993 "800 portability" date when companies are free to move their 800 number to the long distance carrier of their choice without changing the 800 number.
 National Westminster Bancorp (NatWest Bancorp), a New York-based super-regional bank holding company, has agreed to move its primary customer service 800 number, 1-800-NATWEST, from AT&T to MCI when the FCC-mandated portability decision takes effect next March. The 800 business is part of a new multi-million dollar agreement MCI signed with NatWest.
 "We've been very pleased with the 800 service that MCI has been providing NatWest," said Patricia Ryan, vice president of voice services for NatWest Bancorp. "After signing an agreement with MCI in October of 1990, we disconnected our AT&T services, with one exception, and introduced MCI 800 numbers for substantial savings. The exception was '800-NATWEST' which we acquired in 1984 from AT&T and which remains with AT&T today. The option to discontinue that number was not considered due to the obvious advertising benefits we receive based upon the public's association of that number with us. With upcoming 800 portability, we can finally convert the well-advertised number to the carrier of our choice," said Ryan.
 Added Jonathan Crane, president of MCI's National Accounts unit, "This is an important win for MCI because it underscores the opportunity and benefits of 800 portability in the marketplace. Users can pick their 800 carrier on service and benefits and not have to worry about which carrier can provide which number. We expect to earn many 800 wins before and after portability."
 The 800 market is expected to grow from its current $7 billion a year business today to $8 to $9 billion by the end of 1993 as a result of increased applications for 800 servce and increased competition as a result of portability. AT&T monopolized the 800 market for a full 20 years. It wasn't until 1987 when MCI was able to enter the market that consumers had a competitive choice in acquiring toll-free service. This explains why, in the absence of portability, there are so many consumers like NatWest who perceive themselves as being held captive by AT&T. Currently, Bellcore assigns blocks of 800 numbers to individual long distance companies who then can market only the assigned numbers to their own customer base. The 800 portability decision is intended to provide users in the 800 market with the same freedom they now have to switch carriers without changing their regular phone numbers. NatWest Bancorp's subsidiaries include National Westminster Bank USA, National Westminster Bank NJ and NatWest Home Mortgage.
 MCI Communications Corporation, the nation's second largest long distance company, provides a full range of domestic and international telecommunications services through one of the world's largest state-of- the-art networks. The company, with 1991 revenue of nearly $10 billion, has more than 60 overseas offices in 55 countries.
 -0- 11/4/92
 /CONTACT: Frank J. Walter of MCI National Accounts, 212-326-4389/
 (MCIC) CO: MCI Communications Corporation; National Westminster Bancorp ST: New York IN: TLS SU: CON


TS-GK -- NY007 -- 2387 11/04/92 10:31 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 4, 1992
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