May Merge Local Operations, Long Distance
The Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Communications
Commission told the three remaining Baby Bell companies that
they can bring their long-distance arms in-house, ending a
requirement to operate these units as separate businesses.
The agency said the new rules would allow the three dominant
wired phone companies,
Qwest Communications International Inc. and
Verizon Communications Inc., to merge their long-distance
businesses with their main operations.
The move lets the companies cut duplication of marketing,
customer-service and other operating costs. The companies'
request to merge the long-distance operations wasn't considered
controversial because customers are increasingly using their
wireless phones to make long-distance calls.
The requirement dates from the time when it was much more common
for residential customers to buy separate long-distance packages
on top of their local service. It was meant to prevent local
phone companies from keeping other long-distance providers out
of a particular market with their own offering.
Companies were required to either operate the long-distance
units as separate legal companies, or subject themselves to
price regulation. All three opted for the former choice.