AT&T; Cutting Its Rates on Calls Within California

Times Staff Writer

AT&T;'s rates for long-distance calling within California will drop 7.7% Monday--the result of an order that state-imposed savings from reduced connection charges paid to local phone companies be passed on to customers.

The $128.5-million reduction will lower the cost of a prime-time five-minute call between San Diego and San Francisco, via AT&T;, from $1.93 to about $1.77. The same call placed between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. will drop from $1.46 to about $1.35, and the rate for calls between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. and on weekends and holidays will become about 88 cents instead of 96 cents.

A similar call between San Diego and Los Angeles will drop from $1.66 to $1.50 during prime time, falling to $1.12 during evening hours and 75 cents at night and on weekends and holidays.

The reduction also applies to AT&T; Wide Area Telephone Service (WATS) and toll-free calling. The private-line rate will drop 1.8%.

With the new rates, the cost of a Los Angeles-San Francisco call over AT&T;'s network in the two years since the breakup of the Bell System will have dropped 27%, from $2.42 to $1.77, the company said.

The California Public Utilities Commission earlier ordered Pacific Bell to reduce the so-called access charges it levies against all long-distance carriers for originating and completing their intrastate calls. But, the PUC added, these savings must be passed on to consumers in the form of lower long-distance rates.

AT&T; said intrastate access charges now represent 71% of its cost of handling a call.

The Federal Communications Commission levies a similar access charge on long-distance calls between states, but those charges remain unchanged.

Times staff writer Nancy Reed contributed to this report.

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