MCI Communications Corp. introduced a new calling card yesterday that allows users to make conference calls, send recorded messages and call on-line information services for sports scores, financial news and soap opera updates.
Oh, and you can also use the card to make long-distance calls.
"Even though some of these features are already out there, nobody has brought them together in one package," said Debra Shriver, an MCI spokeswoman.
The new MCI Card is the latest entry in the calling-card war, but it won't be the last. The major long-distance companies have made it clear they intend to continue to add bells and whistles to distinguish their cards in the market.
American Telephone & Telegraph Co.'s card, for example, offers a foreign language translation service -- handy for international travelers who get in a jam and can't speak the language. The AT&T; card also allows users to send recorded messages and set up phone conferences using an operator.
US Sprint's card allows users to set up their own conferences with two other people, without operator assistance, from any phone.
All calling cards are free for the asking, and people don't have to subscribe to a carrier to use a phone card. That means a person who subscribes to MCI at home could still use Sprint's calling card for making calls on the road, and vice-versa.
In addition to the new MCI Card, the company has also introduced a Family & Friends Card, which is named after the company's new discount calling plan. The Family & Friends Card is available only to subscribers to the Family & Friends plan.
MCI is offering people who trade in the calling cards of other companies up to $35.40 worth, or about four hours, of free calling-card calls. The trade-in offer expires March 31.