MediaOne will enter its second residential phone market
April 13 with the launch of digital telephony in its Los Angeles cluster.
The operator will follow the successful launch strategy of
its MediaOne Express cable-modem project and roll out its business first in
broadband-friendly Culver City. MediaOne anticipates its initial marketplace at 35,000
homes, including cabled and non-cabled homes.
Telephony from MediaOne should be available to 30 percent
of the Los Angeles cluster, or 254,000 homes, by the end of the year, executives said.
The company will have to compete with both of the
state's two largest telephone companies. Both Pacific Bell and GTE Corp. serve
portions of Culver City.
But MediaOne executives are confident they will be able to
undercut the prices charged by the incumbent telcos. Further, the operator will waive
installation charges initially for non-cable homes that elect MediaOne as their telephone
MediaOne will offer three service packages: a single
telephone line including caller ID, call-waiting, call-forwarding and speed-dialing
features will be priced at $39.75. The incumbent phone companies offer the features on an
a la carte basis, which can cost up to $75.
Two telephone lines, one with all features, will cost
$54.95; and two full-featured lines are $59.95 a month.
Calling packages include 500 free local toll calls per
line, a wider free local calling zone than that established by entrenched competitors and
Initially, MediaOne customers purchasing video and
cable-modem services from the company will receive one bill, with telephony customers
billed separately. Customers interviewed by the operator are split on whether they
eventually want all their MediaOne services on a single bill, said Barbara Hockert, vice
president, telephony, for MediaOne's western region.
MediaOne already has some telephony customers, those who
participated in alpha and beta tests, but executives declined to say how many. Service is
delivered using ADC Telecommunications Inc.'s Homeworx platform network interface
unit, Lucent Technologies Inc.'s switchers, Bellcore's OSS system and outside
plant from General Instrument Corp. and Augat Communications Products Inc.
City officials welcomed the new competitor.
"It's hard to tell, but we do believe
[competition] helps us attract multimedia-based businesses," said John Richo,
director of information technology for the city.