Verizon seeks clearance to discontinue collect calling, other legacy voice services

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is petitioning the FCC to get permission to shut down a series of legacy voice services offered via its MCI subsidiary due to lack of use and little customer demand.

Similar to an earlier call to discontinue calling card services, Verizon notes in an FCC filing that the services "are all outdated legacy services that have largely fallen out of use."

Specifically, the service provider wants to shut down four services: Person-to-Person, Third Number Billing, Collect Call, and Inmate Collect operator services.

For those too young to have used it, collect calling is a billing arrangement by which the charge for an operator assistance call may be reversed (charged to the called station) provided the charge is accepted at the called station.

Likewise, third number billing is an operator-assisted call that may be charged to an authorized station as determined by the company other than the station originating the call or the station where the call is terminated.

Finally, Inmate Collect Calling is a service that permits collect calls only from a Verizon dial tone line in a correctional facility. Verizon said it no longer provides inmate phones at any correctional facility and the service not being used by any customers.

Since users can access a number of alternative services such as VoIP or wireless services to conduct similar calls, Verizon said the proposed shutdown of these services will not conduct public harm.

"The public convenience and necessity will not be impaired by the proposed service discontinuance because these services have fallen out of favor and consumers today are largely using replacements rather than these services," Verizon said in an FCC filing. "For collect calling, person-to-person, and bill to third party, the need to 'bill' a call to an alternative source has been essentially eliminated by the advent of alternatives such as unlimited voice calls on mobile technology, bundled toll and long distance telephone calling plans, and VoIP calling."

Verizon added that "customers today already overwhelmingly make voice calls or communicate using alternative services and products from Verizon or other providers that perform the same functions as these services."

After it gets the FCC's permission, Verizon said it will discontinue all of these services.

For more:
- see this FCC filing (PDF)

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