Big Mergers, Bad Service

Phone customers don't seem to gain much from consolidation

Allan R. Kidd is trying to get the new telephone number of a friend who lives in Boston. He tries dialing 617 555-1212 and gets an operator who works for AT&T, his long-distance company. Even though the friend moved to a new home six months ago, Kidd can get only the old number. Why? Neither AT&T nor local-service provider Bell Atlantic Corp. will give him a straight answer, says Kidd. "It's ridiculous," he says. "There are a lot of phone companies that are abusing their customers."

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