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AT&T Cuts Rates For Troops in Bosnia

By Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 1998 – DoD and AT&T made Valentine's Day even sweeter for troops calling the United States by cutting rates up to 50 percent beginning Feb. 14, according to Pentagon officials.

AT&T decreased the per-minute rate of its Military Saver Plus calling plan in Bosnia, Croatia and Hungary from 99 cents to 50 cents for Operation Joint Guard troops who are plan members.

Troops in the Balkans will also save when making calls to Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. AT&T cut rates under the program to $1 per minute, a savings of up to 74 cents.

Pentagon officials said the savings are the result of efforts by AT&T, DoD and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. AAFES has contracted AT&T phone service for troops deployed to the Balkans since operations began there in 1995, AAFES spokesman Larry Phillips said. AT&T also donated $1 million in calls to military personnel in the Balkans during Christmas.

Suzanne Chung Park, an AT&T spokesperson, said the Military Saver Plus program is the company's most popular calling program for military personnel overseas. To sign up, call (800) 299-9432 in the United States. Customers outside the United States can call collect to (904) 448-8100.

Because subscribers to the program receive a calling card with unlimited use, AT&T does a credit check prior to issuing the card, Park said. Callers should having billing address information and their Social Security number available when applying.

Once a member is approved, a calling card follows by mail in 10 to 15 days. Members can use the plan before the card arrives if they confirm their approval by calling AT&T a week after applying.

The plan costs $5 per month (in addition to calling charges); the fee is waived any month the subscriber does not make a call. Subscribers are charged a $2.50 connection fee for direct service after their first 30 calls per month

Local morale, welfare and recreation funds reap the benefits of this contract, Phillips said. MWR funds help build new stores and better existing facilities and pay for sports programs, youth activities, unit functions and other quality of life programs, he said.

In 1997, AAFES earned $2.9 million from telephone sales in the Balkans -- 80 percent went into Army and Air Force MWR funds in Europe. Phillips said the other 20 percent is split equally between AAFES and the two services.

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