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AT&T PLANS TO CUT RATES ON LONG-DISTANCE CALLS

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The American Telephone & Telegraph Co. plans to cut its long-distance telephone rates by about $300 million next year, mainly for private consumers and small businesses.

The lower rates, effective Jan. 1, will cut phone charges across mainland North America and to 25 other nations."The ceiling on our prices dropped, therefore we are dropping prices," said an AT&T spokesman, adding that the cuts reflect the lower fees the long-distance phone company will pay local phone companies for access to customers' lines.

The cuts will be the tenth made by the telecommunications giant, facing increasing competition from new long-distance firms, since the break-up of the Bell system five years ago.

AT&T said its toll fees have been been cut by 40 percent since 1984.

The new reductions, AT&T said, would apply to its basic long-distance services, most international calls and its special optional toll service for private consumers.

A 10-minute AT&T call to anywhere in the continental United States will cost $2.50 or less at any time of day and $1.32 or less during the night/weekend calling period, the company said.

The plan also includes price reductions of $104 million on international calls from the U.S. mainland to 25 of the most frequently called countries overseas. They include Canada, Mexico, Japan, Great Britain, France, Italy, Israel, Brazil, Australia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Korea. AT&T also said it would reduce its basic long-distance prices from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to 95 countries and territories. The cuts must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission.