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U S WEST OFFERS PAGING SERVICE VIA RESALE PACT WITH WESTLINK

DENVER-U S West Inc. is getting back into the paging business by reselling service from Westlink Paging Inc., the California paging operator that bought U S West’s paging business in 1994.

U S West said two years ago when it sold U S West Paging and its 280,000 subscribers to Westlink that it wanted to concentrate on two-way voice and data. The sale was final in July 1994. U S West Paging had been distributed by U S West NewVector Group Inc.’s cellular unit.

U S West Communications now will market paging to its local phone service customers, particularly in conjunction with its voice messaging service. Customers can be paged when a voice mail message is left at their local phone number.

“Before [the sale], U S West Paging was part of NewVector and we couldn’t consolidate services,” said Bob Kelley, spokesman for U S West Communications. “And we didn’t have the message notification feature. And prior to the telecom reform bill, rules were different for interLATA pages,” Kelley said.

The telecommunications reform law of 1996 allows regional Bell operating companies to offer long-distance service and carry traffic beyond Local Access Transport Area boundaries.

“This market is changing so rapidly and like others, we may have underestimated paging,” Kelley said. “With this effort, we have our products working together. We can put it all on one bill. We will be the first regional Bell operating company to offer the integration of paging with our core telephone service,” Kelley said.

U S West will offer local paging service in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Idaho. U S West will market the service and Westlink will distribute the pagers. Westlink is being acquired by Arch Communications Group Inc.; the deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

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