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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 063-98
February 12, 1998

AGREEMENT REACHED TO REDUCE COMMERCIAL TELEPHONE RATES FOR OPERATION JOINT GUARD

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Dennis J. Reimer have announced an agreement with AT&T to reduce commercial telephone rates for U.S. Service members participating in Operation Joint Guard beginning on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. Under the agreement, American military personnel in Bosnia, Croatia and Hungary subscribing to the AT&T Military Saver Plus calling plan will now be able to make calls to the United States at a rate (50 cents a minute) nearly half the current price. Those Service members will also be afforded a new rate ($1.00 a minute) for calls from the Balkans to Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, a one-third price reduction from the current rate.

The price of commercial telephone calls has been a morale issue for U.S. troops deployed to the Balkan region. Cooperative discussions among the Department of Defense, AT&T, Bosnian authorities, the Army Staff, U.S. Army Europe, and the board of directors of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service identified ways to reduce infrastructure costs and settlement rates paid to international telephone companies to connect calls. The Department of Defense appreciates the cooperation of all parties to produce an important and tangible quality of life improvement for U.S. troops serving in the Balkans.

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