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FCC Set to Act on Payphone Charges

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The American PrePaid Phonecall Association, APPPA, is concerned over the impact on consumers of a ruling by the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) regarding pay phone charges to prepaid service providers. The full Commission is considering whether to uphold the Bureau ruling giving pay phone providers the right to bill prepaid service providers for calls made from their phones, even if required identification information was not passed to the prepaid provider. Of most concern is that this ruling could apply retroactively, even if the required signals were not received from the pay phone.

"If this ruling is affirmed by the full Commission, the impact will be the greatest on those who can afford it the least," said Gene Retske, Executive Director of APPPA. "Prepaid providers will have to pay for calls long after their ability to appropriately charge the customer who made the call."

Retske also said that, while the issue is mired in technical and legal language, if affirmed, the ruling will have the net effect of limiting access to payphones by the least affluent consumers. "This ruling will disproportionately impact the very consumer who needs access to discounted, high value international long distance services," added Retske.

The owner of one prepaid calling company, Ray Valme, of Dial World Communications said that the average payphone charge is about $0.99 per call when using a prepaid phone card. He said that carriers would then have to budget an additional amount for retroactive payphone charges and build them into their ongoing payphone fee.

"Because prepaid phone service is sold through merchants, today's $0.99 payphone fee could increase to as much as $1.39 on a $5 calling card that affects 28% of the value, on a $3 calling card. That is 46% of the value," said Valme.

APPPA is continuing to work with the FCC to resolve this issue in favor of the industry and its consumers.

About APPPA

The group of industry leaders represents the majority of the prepaid calling market in the U.S. and created an association to protect the industry's interests, good name and public trust by providing best practices, and to speak with one voice for the industry and its consumers. Prepaid phone call providers who want more information about joining APPPA should contact Gene Retske, Executive Director, at (202) 370-7600 or by email, execdir@apppa.us

The American PrePaid Phonecall Association logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=12043

CONTACT: Gene Retske American PrePaid Phonecall Association (APPPA) Tel: (202) 370-7600 (ext. 100) Fax: (202) 370-7610 Email: gene.retske@apppa.us

Source:American PrePaid Phonecall Association