Consumer Payment Card News

Pac Bell Mexico Card

Pacific Bell expanded its Mexican prepaid phone card program yesterday to offer a “calling from Mexico” feature. The new feature may help combat various scams involving phone calls from Mexico. Reportedly some unscrupulous firms charge as much as $32 per minute for making a collect or credit card call from Mexico. The ‘Pacific Bell Prepaid Phone Card’ will charge $1.50 per minute for calls originating in Mexico and rates ranging from 29 cents to 75 cents per minute for calls originating in the U.S.. Pac Bell initially rolled out its prepaid phone card Aug 15.

FULL STORY:
Pacific Bell Thursday announced a new way to call from Mexico.

The feature allows consumers to use a Pacific Bell prepaid phone card at low rates to call from Mexico to the United States, from the United States to Mexico or within either country.

This announcement follows the new reduced prepaid phone card to Mexico introduced by Pacific Bell on Aug. 15, 1997. The rates offered range from 29 cents to 75 cents for calls originating in the United States and $1.50 for calls originating in Mexico.

“Pacific Bell has been a leader in the prepaid phone card industry, offering low rates, no hidden charges and six-second increment billing,” said Mark Moyer, director of sales and marketing for the Pacific Bell Prepaid Phone Card.

“Because of the high percentage of calls originating from our service area to Mexico, we are continuing to provide innovative ways to better serve our customers. The Mexico call-origination feature will offer an added value to consumers — their loved ones can now call them from Mexico utilizing these prepaid cards.”

The new Mexico call origination feature provides convenience, security and savings to consumers. There have been many complaints recently regarding the exorbitant costs of collect and credit card calls from Mexico, some as high as $32 per minute. In February, Pacific Bell issued a warning to consumers about these high rates. Recent news reports have uncovered various scams by unscrupulous companies selling prepaid service.

The prepaid phone card industry generates billions of dollars annually worldwide. First introduced in Italy in 1976, it is a rapidly growing industry in the United States. Convenience and relatively low costs are two of the factors fueling a boom in the industry, according to experts.

Consumers without telephone or long-distance service are core users of prepaid phone cards. The cards are also proving attractive as a marketing tool for businesses, which use free calling time as a reward or enticement for customers. Most of the time the cards offer competitive rates. But with access fees and full-minute billing, costs can soar.

“Prepaid phone cards offer an added control for customers who want to limit their long-distance costs,” said Moyer. “Our added Mexico call origination feature and low rates allow customers and their loved ones to keep in touch and truly benefit from the service.”

For information about Pacific Bell’s prepaid calling cards, customers can call 800/600-0094 or visit the company at http://www.pacbell.com.

Long-distance service is provided by Executive TeleCard (international carrier) and Frontier Communications (domestic carrier) and are not affiliated with Pacific Bell.

Pacific Bell provides basic and leading-edge telephone services and products to more than 9 million business and residential customers — a total of more than 16 million access lines — throughout California. It is a company of SBC Communications Inc., an international leader in the telecommunications industry, with more than 32 million access lines and nearly 5 million wireless customers across the United States, as well as investments in telecommunications businesses in nine countries.

Under the Southwestern Bell, Pacific Bell, Nevada Bell and Cellular One brands, the company, through its subsidiaries, offers a wide range of innovative services, including local and long-distance telephone service, wireless communications, paging, Internet access, cable TV and messaging, as well as telecommunications equipment, and directory advertising and publishing. SBC (ww.sbc.com) has approximately 118,000 employees. SBC reported 1996 revenues of $23.5 billion.

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