TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Remembering Old Zenith Numbers

Re: Remembering Old Zenith Numbers
31 Mar 2006 20:31:54 -0800

WR wrote:

> That is not correct. My business had such a number in Konawa,
> Oklahoma, in the 1950-1952 and the calls were charged at the normal
> sent-paid station rate rather than as a collect call.

Until the 1970s the Bell System had only two toll rate types --
-station and person. All station calls, whether dialed direct or
operator handled were charged the same price. In the 1970s, with
virtually the whole country equipped for DDD, the Bell System began to
give discounts for directly dialed station calls, particularly at
night hours. Over time the directly dialed calls got cheaper while
operator handled station calls got more expensive. This was a big
change at the time, rolled out gradually. I think it was test
marketed in North Carolina. I believe at the time it also introduced
a late night toll class (after midnight, then after 11pm) that was
cheaper than the existing evening rate. We college students, who kept
odd hours and had friends far away, made good use of it, but you had
to call from a home phone, not a coin phone. Coin rates were
"operator handled".

Station calls included plain, "time and charges", 3rd party billing,
collect, and 3 minute notification. In the 1950s people could call by
name and city "get me John Jones in Seattle" and the toll operator
would first get the number from Seattle D.A. The Bell System
encouraged people to call by number to save operator time.

Anyway, there was no difference between sent-paid and collect rates.
Enterprise calls saved the trouble of an operator calling ahead to get
acceptance, that was assumed.

My point was that in the 1980s the cost difference between an 800
service and Enterprise service began to be significant. By 1985 it
was foolish for a business to maintain an Enterprise line. Perhaps
they didn't even know they had the service and the collect calls were
just buried in with other toll charges.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Do you recall how, even after they
set up a reduced rate for 'direct dialed' calls versus a more
expensive rate for 'operator assisted' (but still station to station
calls) if a customer appealed the higher 'operator assisted' rates the
customer would be given 'direct dial' rates if he had 'tried to dial
it himself but failed' for some reason? PAT]

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Jim Burks: "Re: Remembering Old Zenith Numbers"
Go to Previous message: "Re: Train Passengers - Images Frozen in Time"
May be in reply to: Chris Farrar: "Remembering Old Zenith Numbers"
Next in thread: Jim Burks: "Re: Remembering Old Zenith Numbers"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page