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SPRINT CALLS AT&T LAWSUIT 'MARKETING PLOY;' FILES FOR DISMISSAL

 WASHINGTON, March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Sprint (NYSE: FON) filed a motion yesterday in U.S. District Court in Washington to dismiss AT&T's recent lawsuit alleging failure by Sprint to file proper tariffs with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Sprint called AT&T's lawsuit an "obvious marketing ploy aimed at stemming AT&T's customer losses."
 "Within hours of the AT&T lawsuit, our customers began receiving calls and letters from AT&T marketing representatives saying Sprint's arrangements with customers were illegal," said John Hoffman, Sprint's senior vice president of external affairs. "This is simply not the truth. Sprint has always complied with the Communications Act and applicable FCC rules.
 "On the eve of 800 number portability and in a year when some 50 Tariff 12 contracts with AT&T's largest customers are expiring, AT&T is attempting to scare the marketplace into believing that they shouldn't do business with other carriers.
 "Coming at a time when AT&T is spending unprecedented sums of money on its 800 advertising, we think this lawsuit has little to do with the law, and everything to do with marketing. We are confident that customers will see through AT&T's thinly veiled attempt to frighten them into giving their business to AT&T," continued Hoffman.
 All 800 numbers are to become "portable" on May 1, 1993, as a result of an FCC decision implementing a nationwide database. Customers will be allowed to switch 800 service from one long distance carrier to another without having to give up their existing 800 number(s). At stake is an estimated $7.5 billion annual market.
 In its filing, Sprint stated that AT&T's suit "is one more step in AT&T's decades-long war against federal regulatory actions and policies favoring competition in the long distance telephone markets once totally monopolized by AT&T."
 The filing also stressed that the same issues are pending in an action before the FCC and the court should be "particularly intolerant of a redundant lawsuit that appears to have been brought to provide material for sales presentations and to generate copy for a publicity campaign."
 "We're hopeful that the court will act quickly to dismiss the AT&T lawsuit and end this absurd ploy," said Hoffman. "Customers should be able to select the long distance carrier that provides the best service at the best price. It's obvious AT&T would prefer not to compete with us that way."
 Sprint is a diversified international telecommunications company with $9.2 billion in annual revenues and the United States' only nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network. Its divisions provide global long distance voice, data and video products and services, and local telephone services to more than 4 million subscriber lines in 17 states.
 -0- 3/3/93
 /CONTACT: Steve Dykes, 202-828-7435 or, after hours, 703-242-1769, or Angela Peacock, 202-828-7415 or, after hours, 301-865-3766, both of Sprint/
 (FON T)


CO: Sprint; AT&T ST: District of Columbia IN: TLS SU:

DC -- DC008 -- 2427 03/03/93 11:46 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 3, 1993
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