AT&T increases long-distance rates
WASHINGTON AT&T is increasing its long-distance rates for 28 million customers who subscribe to the company's basic plan.
The increase by the nation's biggest carrier, with some 60 million subscribers total, takes effect July 1 and involves basic-rate customers those who don't pay a minimum fee for calling plans.
Under the change, basic plan subscribers will pay 25 cents up from 22.5 cents per minute for long-distance calls from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weeknights; on weekdays, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., the rate goes up from 29.5 cents to 30 cents each minute. Weekend calls will cost 16 cents per minute up from 14.5 cents.
Subscribers who opt for a basic plan that has the same rate all the time will be charged 17.5 cents per minute, up 1.5 cents.
The company kept in place its plans allowing consumers to pay 10 cents a minute on either Saturday or Sunday, but they would pay an increased amount per-minute the rest of the week.
The AT&T rate increase will come at the same time that Americans see one of the line-items on their local phone bills called the "subscriber line charge" go up by 50 cents. That's a result of government approved changes in how phone companies pay each other to complete calls.
AT&T officials said most basic-rate subscribers don't make a lot of calls: Those 28 million customers account for 15 percent of residential calling traffic.
WorldCom and Sprint, the nation's No. 2 and 3 long-distance carriers, have not announced similar rate changes.