Phone companies will deal Ñ if you ask

February 26, 1997


Staff Writer

Just ask for a better deal from your telephone company and you might get it.

AT&T Corp. is offering long-distance customers a special dime rate on all calls, but the plan hasn't been advertised, according to Karyn Vaughn-Fritz, company spokeswoman.

The new deal comes with a monthly fee of $4.95, Vaughn-Fritz said.

Before customers decide to take AT&T up on the plan, it's best to determine whether the monthly fee makes the lower rate a good deal, she said.

"Stop and evaluate your long-distance use," Vaughn-Fritz said.

Consumers can call AT&T's two customer service lines for help, she said. Those wishing to compare the cost of long-distance service may call 1-800-COMPARE. The regular customer service line is 1-800-222-0300. Both calls are free.


AT&T recently launched a national campaign advertising its new One Rate plan, which offers long distance for 15 cents a minute around the clock, she said.

Sprint also has an unadvertised 24-hour rate of 15-cents per minute, according to company spokesman Steve Lunceford.

Sprint customers have enjoyed a dime-a-minute rate for nights and weekends for two years. That rate is good during the time when most people make personal calls, Lunceford said.

He said customers who use long distance more during peak day hours may want to check out the "Sprint Sense Day" program.

Sprint attempts to contact individual customers who spend more than $35 a month on long-distance calls to suggest ways they can reduce costs, he said.

Sprint also offers a yearly rebate program, which gives cash refunds based on the amount customers spend annually for long-distance calls. Consumers can call 1-800-PIN-DROP for more information about Sprint's programs.

MCI Communications Corp., however, says it won't negotiate its 12-cents-a-minute rate, available only to customers who spend more than $25 per month, said Bryant Hilton, company spokesman.

MCI customers who spend less than $25 can qualify for 15-cents-a-minute long-distance rates, Hilton said. More information about MCI services can be obtained by calling 1-800-4 MCI ONE.

The smallest bottom line might belong to those who wrangle for the best rates. In some instances, AT&T customers have managed to have the $4.95 fee waived for several months.

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