AT&T Pulls Back Consumer Marketing

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AT&T will cease marketing its consumer services to new customers and focus instead on expanding its business and emerging technologies markets, the company said yesterday.


In a statement, AT&T said it will continue to provide service to existing customers but no longer conduct acquisition efforts.


Rules that let AT&T and other long-distance providers pay discount rates for rent of telephone networks owned by their competitors, such as Verizon and other local providers, expired June 15. AT&T, MCI and other providers had appealed to the Supreme Court to restore the old rules.


"As a result of recent changes in regulatory policy governing local telephone service, AT&T will no longer be competing for residential or local and standalone long-distance customers," the company said in a statement.


AT&T's Government Solutions subsidiary is responsible for maintaining the national no-call registry. However, AT&T's telemarketing has run afoul of law enforcement in the past. On July 9, AT&T agreed to pay $490,000 in fines to the Federal Communications Commission to settle charges that it ignored company-specific no-call requests from consumers. The case involved no-call requests made by consumers directly to AT&T and did not involve the national no-call list.


As of April 15, AT&T had accumulated nearly 5,000 complaints from consumers alleging violations of the national no-call list, according to a study of complaint data by Reuters. However, AT&T did not mention telemarketing regulations in its statement announcing the end of its consumer marketing efforts.


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