Choosing a long distance provider

Thursday, June 27th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WorldCom is the second largest long distance phone provider in the country. After all the stories of layoffs and shady business practices, many of WorldCom's 20 million long distance customers are asking, "What about us?"

News on Six consumer reporter Rick Wells has some information those people need to know.

MCI is into lots of ends of the phone business, long distance, cell phones, pagers and the Internet. And even though you don't deal directly with MCI they may be providing service to someone else you do directly deal with. So with WorldCom in big financial trouble, what's likely to happen next?

David Healey with USB Paine Webber says WorldCom will most likely do what they can to support MCI. "They are gonna protect one of their core businesses which is MCI." Rick: But he says some of the layoffs are bound to come from customer service people so that end of the business may suffer, there has been no bankruptcy filing and even if that does happen, that doesn't mean a total shutdown.

Other companies have filed for financial reorganization and kept on operating. Even in the worst case, there is a shutdown of long distance phone service; MCI would have to notify the FCC 30 days in advance of that so there'd be a warning. There'd be plenty of time to switch; speaking of switching if you are interested. You may want to wait, there may be some great deals coming.

SBC Southwestern Bell has extended hours at its call centers, to field more questions. The State Corporation Commission has a listing of almost 200 companies cleared to offer service in Oklahoma. An MCI spokesperson told the New on Six. "It is business as usual here. We are committed to the best long distance service possible in fact we believe we have a very competitive long distance product."

Everyone's best advice. Make a long distance choice or change now the same way as any other time, find the best deal you can for your situation and then make it.