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 KANSAS CITY, Mo. Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Sprint (NYSE: FON) filed reply comments to its petition filed Dec. 2 for a declaratory ruling with the Federal Communications Commission to extend the FCC's "fresh look" requirement from 90 to 180 days and to include all of AT&T's 800 term plans.
 The so-called fresh look requirement stems from the FCC's earlier order which permitted AT&T Tariff 12 customers to terminate their contracts within 90 days of the implementation of 800 portability (now May 1, 1993) without imposition of any termination liabilities.
 In arguing to extend fresh look to all AT&T term plan customers, Sprint contended in its filing that the same logic the FCC used for Tariff 12 customers applied to term plan customers. Specifically, the FCC sought to "ensure that customers who may be dependent on a specific 800 number cannot be leveraged by AT&T into long-term commitments for Tariff 12 packages that prevent their taking advantage of 800 number portability when it arrives."
 Unfortunately, the FCC's fresh look policy was limited to subscribers of bundled offerings. Sprint's petition urged an expansion of the fresh look policy so that the benefits of that policy would also be available to other AT&T 800 customers currently locked into AT&T term plans.
 Sprint's petition stated that it has undertaken intensive efforts to educate subscribers about the benefits of number portability. In contrast, instead of educating its customers, AT&T has concentrated much of its resources on locking in current 800 service subscribers. Sprint's recent market research reveals that AT&T customers are the least aware of the advent of number portability compared to the customers of other major long distance companies.
 "Consistent with the commission's clear direction, the industry, local exchange carriers and interexchange carriers, are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to bring about true competition and its many benefits to the 800 services market," said Gerry Euston, Sprint's vice president, business product marketing.
 "Since that time, AT&T has instead attempted to thwart the creation of a competitive marketplace by locking up customers in term plans and other promotions before they even became aware of portability."
 In its petition, Sprint also asked the FCC to extend the fresh look window from 90 days to 180 days because of related customer concerns and confusion. The petition noted that 800 service subscribers needed more time to get comfortable with portability and related administrative and systems changes before taking advantage of fresh look.
 Several users groups, including the Ad Hoc Telecom Users Group, Aeronautical Radio, Inc. (ARINC), the American Petroleum Institute (API), and the Custom Network Service Users Group, as well as other long distance carriers including LDDS, MCI, CompTel and the Telecom Resellers Association (TRA), all voiced their support. As expected, AT&T was the only opponent to Sprint's request.
 "AT&T is using its usual fear, uncertainty and doubt marketing tactics on its customers to fuel this confusion," said Euston. "AT&T's November 17, 1992, 13-page press release is a perfect example of its attempt to confuse and scare their customers so they will not leave them."
 As another example, Euston cited a September 1992 AT&T press release that could confuse and mislead customers about AT&T prices. In the release, AT&T represented several old promotions and term offerings -- some as much as two-years-old -- as new promotions. After the misstatements were uncovered, AT&T publicly apologized for "misleading you."
 Sprint is a diversified international telecommunications company with $9 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- 1/18/93
 /CONTACT: Tom Rafferty of Sprint, 913-624-3234 or, after hours, 913-677-1971/
 (FON T)

CO: Sprint; Federal Communications Commission; AT&T ST: Missouri IN: TLS SU:

TW -- DC011 -- 5898 01/18/93 12:55 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 18, 1993

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