MCI and Sprint Pitch 800 Service to Households

MCI and Sprint Pitch 800 Service to Households

Post by Peter G. Cap » Fri, 19 Oct 1990 14:15:21

{The Wall Street Journal} of October 16 has an article describing
recent announcements by MCI and Sprint of new programs to market 800
service to residences.  Highlights:

MCI: "Personal 800" service, says it is an alternative to collect and
credit card calls.  Two billing options: if you have MCI long distance,
800 service is $2/month on top of the PrimeTime calling plan.  Calls
are $6.50/hr from 1700 to 0800 wkdays, Saturday, and Sunday 'til 1700.
At other times, calls are 25 cents/minute, minus 10% discount.  If you
don't have MCI LD, then it is $5/month and 25 cents/minute all the
time.  Apparently in either case, MCI customers get will get a
four-digit private security code to avoid the reception of unwanted
calls.  (Anybody know how this works?  Does the caller use it?  I
presume called party uses it, since he pays.  But presumably he must
know who is calling to be able to decide.)

Sprint: $10/month, normal long distance charges (presumably based on
distance and time and time of day).  Says calls are 12-15% cheaper
than "regular dialing" because "small-business rates" apply.  $50
installation fee is waived during three month startup promotion.
"Somebody who has more than 6 or 7 collect calls a month, or 12 credit
card calls a month, would be a candidate."

The article also mentions AT&T's Call Me card, and says they have no
plan to change their service but "are glad to see that MCI and Sprint
have addressed this need."  It also gives some examples of usage, most
of which are pretty obvious.  The claim is that the total US market
for calling-card and operator-assisted (I presume this includes both
collect and third-party billing, which are not replaced by 800
service) is $8 billion, according to MCI.

Nothing is said about ability to restrict the origination points of
calls to these 800 numbers, or about ability to call them from abroad.
Isn't it now the case that one or both of these carriers provide
something similar to AT&T's USA Direct service to allow calling to 800
numbers from abroad?

Observation: Isn't there a real potential for running out of numbers
here?  There's really only one area code's worth of 800 numbers, and
several hundred thousand of those have been assigned already.  If
these services are successful in any serious sort of way, I see a real
constraint.  Even if it were technically feasible to add another area
code or two for "reverse bill" service, advertising it and getting
people to know, as they do today, that "1-800" is free would certainly
take a while.

Peter Capek


MCI and Sprint Pitch 800 Service to Households

Post by Bill Hutt » Sun, 21 Oct 1990 03:17:25

Quote:(Peter G. Capek) writes:
>X-Telecom-Digest: Volume 10, Issue 742, Message 1 of 11
>MCI: "Personal 800" service, says it is an alternative to collect and
>credit card calls.  Two billing options: if you have MCI long distance,
>800 service is $2/month on top of the PrimeTime calling plan.  Calls

[details deleted]

I called MCI today the rep said that they have a special department at
1-800-373-7184 that will handle the program. (on Monday) I called
anyway and the person there said it was for NEW Accounts only and that
they would only give the $5/mo plan to old customers ... you have to
sign up as a new primetime customer to get the $2/mo price.  It seems
that MCI always lets new customers in on programs a few months ahead
of the old ones.. which really isn't fair.



1. MCI and Sprint Pitch 800 Service to Households

According to Frank Walter, an MCI spokesman, when you sign up for
their service, you just have to put an 800 in front of your home
number. Since a given number could be duplicated across scores of area
codes, you need the "security" code to tell the system where to route
the call. Each customer will be allowed to pick their own 4-digit
code, but the company will check them first to make sure they too, are
not duplicated somewhere, he says.

Robin Pence, a spokeswoman for Sprint, says they are just giving
customers their own unique 800 numbers. She says there has been some
talk of setting up a new 400 series of numbers when the 800s are

Adam Gaffin   Middlesex News, Framingham, Mass.

Fred the Middlesex News Computer: (508) 872-8461

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