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AT&T; to put same-rate multiple services on single bill; Long-distance, wireless calls are 10 cents a minute


NEW YORK -- AT&T; Corp., the largest U.S. phone company, said yesterday that it will offer wireless, long-distance and calling-card services at the same 10-cents-a-minute rate on a single bill, a first in the U.S. phone industry.

AT&T; Personal Network charges customers $29.99 a month plus 10 cents a minute for wireless and long-distance calls or $44.95 a month to have AT&T; WorldNet Internet access included. The new services will be available Sunday.

AT&T;'s Personal Network is expected to appeal to the 25 million U.S. households that buy multiple products, like Internet access and wireless, and spend about 2.5 times more each month on phone services than the average household. AT&T; expects the package of services, which long-distance and local phone companies have been racing to offer, to help offset declining sales in its consumer long-distance division.

"The vast majority of consumers prefer to deal with one company," said Brian Adamik, an analyst at the Yankee Group. "AT&T; is beginning to fulfill on that."

Even so, the New York-based company still expects consumer sales to drop 2 percent to 4 percent this year, AT&T; President John Zeglis said. Personal Network is expected to boost profit, since customers that buy so many services from one company are less likely to switch to competitors, he said.

Personal Network customers also will pay 10 cents a minute for long-distance calls made from home in the United States to Canada, the United Kingdom and border cities in Mexico, as well as for domestic calls made with an AT&T; calling card. Incoming calls to a customer's home via a personal 800 number are 10 cents each minute as well.

The 10-cent rate for wireless calls only applies in a customer's home area. Calls made outside that region will be billed more for roaming charges.

Pub Date: 1/28/99

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