MCImetro's U.S. push starts here today

MARYLAND WATCH

February 01, 1996

MCImetro, the new local phone subsidiary of MCI Communications Corp., will make its national commercial debut in Baltimore today as it begins its challenge to the traditional phone monopolies.

Sales people will start making calls on business customers in several downtown office buildings that have been connected to MCImetro's operations hub on the ninth floor of the Candler Building.

They will be seeking to convert customers of Bell Atlantic Corp. by dangling a 5 percent discount and the promise of improved service, said Leonard Vega, senior manager of operations.

Washington-based MCI has been eager to establish a toehold in the local telephone business because it expects regional Bell operating companies such as Bell Atlantic to invade its core long-distance business within a few years.

Mr. Vega said MCImetro's rollout will not receive much fanfare because its coverage area is too limited. He said the company has completed its "local city network" serving downtown but that MCI has been having some difficulty persuading landlords to let the company place equipment in their buildings.

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