AT&T;'s rates for long-distance calling within California will drop 7.7% Monday-- the result of an order that requires 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 Orange County and San Francisco, via AT&T;, from $1.93 to $1.77. The same call placed between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. will drop from $1.44 to $1.32, and the rate for calls from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. and on weekends and holidays will drop from 96 to 88 cents.
With the new rates, the cost of an Orange County-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.
A similar call between Anaheim and San Diego will drop from $1.55 to $1.43 during prime time, falling to $1.07 from $1.16 during evening hours and 77 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%.
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.