TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Enterprise Numbers Still in Use?

Re: Enterprise Numbers Still in Use?
14 Jul 2005 13:20:18 -0700

TELECOM Digest Editor noted in response to

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: He is wrong, but so are
> you. 'Enterprise' numbers (they were called 'Zenith' in many places;
> 'Enterprise' was the Bell System word; I think 'Zenith' was the word
> used by GTE and some others) are now pretty much grandfathered to
> existing subscribers (basically long time customers since the
> 1970's?) who wanted to keep them. I do not think you can order new
> Enterprise/Zenith service, but it is there for people who always had
> it and wanted to keep it. But if you give it up, (or move, or
> otherwise change your service) that's it. Don't ask for it back.

Thanks for your response.

I've seen a variety of designations for this service depending on the
city, Bell used Zenith as well as "WX" and "UX", all had a line
underneath "ask Operator for ..."

Until around the late 1990s, several large cities in the NE US still
had many listings for Enterprise numbers. Most were defunct; I
suspect somehow they escaped the normal directory purge process.
Directories since then do not have Enterprise numbers, even for
businesses that still actively had them. (I don't want to call such a
business to test it since they have to pay for the call.)

I would be surprised if anyone would still have one today because,
AFAIK, it would cost so much more than 800 service. AFAIK, every
Enterprise call was billed as a collect call. Way back when, collect
calls cost the same as regular calls, and short distance calls were
relatively cheap. That is, someone from the suburb calling a city
business would generate a charge of say 20c. But now the surcharge
for collect calls is quite steep. I doubt AT&T would give a discount
because it is an operator handled service which they would want to
duly charge for. Plus, because it is so obscure, they use up an
operator's and supervisor's time to figure out the rare request and
dig out the dusty translation table. I'm sure AT&T wouldn't want

Also, most callers today wouldn't know what it was compared to an 800
number. Lastly, I don't think basic level 800 or
remote-call-forwarded service costs very much these days.

Do you know of specific businesses that still are using them? (You
don't have to give their actual name.) Were they still listed in the
current Chicago directory?

> Anyway Lisa, tell your newsgroup person about
> this won't you please? Thanks. PAT]

Your text copied over to the misc.transport.rail.americas newsgroup.
Thanks again.

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