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Sprint's local phone division cuts rates for some regional calling in Orlando and Southwest Florida.

APOPKA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 17, 1996--For the second time in the past four months, Sprint's Southern Operations is expanding local calling and dramatically reducing rates by getting rid of some old regional long distance charges.

Nearly 400,000 Sprint local telephone customer lines in the Orlando and Southwest Florida areas are involved in the latest activations, which have been instituted by Sprint over the past few weeks and affect 16 cities and communities in six counties.

The largest activations have occurred in the Orlando metropolitan area. Sprint residential and business local telephone customers in Orange City, Lake Helen and Deltona in western Volusia county, and in Kissimmee, West Kissimmee and Saint Cloud in Osceola County now have Extended Calling Service (ECS) to Winter Park and Maitland in Orange County and to Casselberry, Altamonte Springs, Goldenrod and Lake Brantley in Seminole County. The Orange and Seminole County customers, in turn, can call the Osceola and Volusia customers for the same ECS rates.

The new ECS plans are a direct result of Sprint responding to customer requests for expanded local calling. Under the plans, residential customers can call for 25 cents per call, unlimited duration, and business customers can call for 10 cents for the first minute, and 6 cents each additional minute. The ECS rates apply both ways between the communities served by the plans.

"Customers' monthly savings from ECS plans are dramatic. Since a typical midday regional long distance call costs 24 cents for the first minute and 14 cents each additional minute, the savings begin during the second minute of a call," said Brian Craven, manager of external communications for Sprint Southern Operations. "The more customers call, the more they save. For example, a residential customer who makes several dozen calls a month can save as much as 50 percent on the bill, and that's with the new ability to talk five minutes or five hours for the same flat rate of 25 cents."

A Sprint local telephone ECS plan took effect Aug. 29 between 25,000 customer lines in the Orange City, Deltona, and Lake Helen areas and some 215,000 customer lines in the Winter Park, Casselberry, Altamonte Springs, Goldenrod, Maitland and Lake Brantley areas. Because a few of the local telephone number prefixes are duplicated between the two ECS areas, customers must dial 1+ the area code and number, but the calls are automatically billed at the ECS rates.

Another 70,000 Sprint local telephone customer lines in the Kissimmee, West Kissimmee and Saint Cloud areas got Extended Calling Service to Winter Park, Casselberry, Altamonte Springs, Goldenrod, Maitland, and Lake Brantley areas effective Sept. 9. Customers have seven-digit dialing both ways between those new ECS areas.

New Southwest Florida Sprint ECS plans in effect as of Aug. 29 in Charlotte and Lee Counties include: Between Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island and Port Charlotte, both ways; between Boca Grande and Punta Gorda, both ways, and between Cape Haze and Punta Gorda, both ways, affecting a total of some 100,000 customer lines. Those customers can dial seven digits under the ECS plans.

"We are pleased that the telecommunications reforms at the state and federal level now give us the ability to quickly approve new calling areas. Many of these expanded calling areas have been requested by the communities for years, but did not meet the old regulatory approval requirements," said Craven. "We want to give customers what they want, so that's why we've moved ahead quickly with these Extended Calling Service plans."

Additional announcements will be made in the near future about more Extended Calling Service plans in Sprint's 36-county Florida service area. Customers are being notified through bill messages and inserts, as well as an advertising campaign.

ECS plans instituted under the new Sprint calling strategy now benefit more than 600,000 customer lines. Before the latest calling routes, the largest activation was announced June 1 and includes more than 225,000 Sprint customer lines in 10 cities in the Panhandle and North Central Florida.

Sprint Southern Operations, part of Sprint's Local Telecommunications Division serves more than 1.7 million customer telephone lines and 3.3 million people in some 350 communities in 36 Florida counties, stretching from the Panhandle to the Everglades. Sprint has had the lowest percentage of Florida Public Service Commission customer complaints of any major Florida local telephone company for the past six years, and has some of the lowest local phone rates in the nation -- 30 percent below the national average.

CONTACT: Sprint, Apopka

Brian Craven, 407/889-6807
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 17, 1996
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