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With competitors circling, US WEST is striking back with a corporate redirection that will provide customers with new telecommunication offerings, what it terms "one-stop shopping" and a series of TV commercials touting the company's theme of helping customers "Make Life Better."

The commercials will debut on Super Bowl Sunday, Jan. 26, and will run before, during and after the game. There also will be full-page ads in major newspapers in the company's 14-state region.Follow-up advertising will appear on TV, radio, in newspapers and business journals.

Among the developments that Salt Lake Valley residents will see in the next six months are US WEST entering the long-distance market, new wireless personal communication services and a variety of "better-value customer packages" that are tailored to the specific needs of home or business owners. In some cases, price discounts will be available.

The company is creating a relationship marketing team to make all this happen.

So how would anything be different for, say, the average homeowner?

"It's an emphasis on packaging and solutions," said Kevin Taylor, Utah local markets general manager.

"I think with the closure of I-15 this spring, for example, you'll see a lot of people asking `How do I extend my office to my home?' "

Some of this is really aimed at providing broad-based solutions that do more than be just a package of residential services."

Taylor said one example is the digital subscriber loop that provides a finished interface for the home or office but will be particularly useful this spring when the interstate closes and more people want to work from home.

"It provides a total package of network services. At the office, you're tied into the local area network that provides access to the resources you need and Internet access. The type of packages you'll see (US WEST offering) will allow you to have the same sort of connectivity that you have in your office in your home."

Home-office solution packages can be tailored to start-up businesses, mobile workers and home business that are expanding. Owners of small businesses also can get discounts on a combination of standard call features that most businesses need - phone lines, voice messaging, call forwarding, cellular phones and pagers.

Valley residents who use US WEST also may benefit from the newer digital technology in personal communication services.

The new US WEST initiative is "not so much packaging of bunch of products, as an orientation around solutions that people are telling us they want to accomplish in their lives," Taylor said.

"We're really trying to focus not on technology as much as what people do," he said.

"We're doing our best to respond to the competition and be more than what our customers have been accustomed to," he said.

"If you get calls from our competitors and you perceive better value from them, great. It's up to us to show that we can be as good a value or a better value if we can."

The TV ads are intended to be upbeat, and US WEST officials emphasize that this is in contrast to the negative tone taken by some of its competitors.