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MICHIGAN BELL TO SLASH LONG-DISTANCE RATES BY $20 MILLION; CUTS AND DISCOUNTS TOTAL $70 MILLION FOR YEAR

 DETROIT, Dec. 1 ~PRNewswire~ -- Michigan Bell will slash $20 million from the price of long-distance calls Dec. 15, in the final phase of a $70 million package of toll cuts and discounts planned for 1992.
 The $20 million in price cuts for daytime long-distance calls inside the area code means a five-minute call between Detroit and Ann Arbor that cost $1.30 in 1991 will cost just 96 cents -- a savings of 25 percent.
 "The state's progressive new telecommunications law has brought our customers a 12-percent reduction in long-distance prices in just one year," said Laird Spencer, Michigan Bell director of marketing and business development.
 Spencer said the new law -- the Michigan Telecommunications Act of 1991 or MTA -- is helping the company meet the competitive challenge posed by the entry of long-distance giants like AT&T, MCI and Sprint into its markets.
 The company has lost more than 10 percent of its long-distance business since the bigger long-distance companies were allowed to compete with Michigan Bell for inside-the-area-code long-distance calls.
 Federal restrictions bar Michigan Bell from carrying calls across area code boundaries. Other long-distance carriers are not covered by the restriction and may carry calls statewide. The company has lost nearly 90 percent of its WATS (Wide Area Telephone Service) market to the larger competitors since the advent of competition.
 The new state law, which became effective Jan. 1, gave Michigan Bell the freedom to introduce new services and adjust prices quickly for its competitive offerings. Under the old law, such changes were subject to long, drawn-out regulatory procedures.
 "Thanks to the new law, the streamlining of our organization and new technologies, we've been able to slash long-distance prices and still keep the cost of local service in Michigan one of the 10 best values in the country," said Spencer.
 The company last December announced $20 million in long-distance price cuts just four days after the new law was passed. New long- distance discount plans introduced in 1992 -- Circle Calling 20, Circle Calling 30 and Circle Calling Area Wide -- produced additional savings of more than $25 million.
 Price cuts effective this year trim the cost of a five-minute call as follows:
 SAVINGS
 CALL (FROM-TO) 1991 Cost 1992 Cost $ Amt. Percent
 Detroit-Flint $1.46 $1.01 $0.45 31
 Detroit-Pontiac $1.01 $0.91 $0.10 10
 Grand Rapids-Traverse City $1.61 $1.01 $0.60 37
 Saginaw-Midland $1.01 $0.91 $0.10 10
 Lansing-Jackson $1.30 $0.96 $0.34 26
 -0- 12~1~92
 ~CONTACT: Dean Hovey, 313-223-7197, or Phil Jones, 313-223-7194, both of Michigan Bell~


CO: Michigan Bell ST: Michigan IN: TLS SU:

DH -- DE003 -- 2309 12~01~92 10:02 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 30, 1992
Words:445
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