Long-distance telephone rates for U.S. businesses dropped 7.9 percent from February 1995 to February 1996, according to the International Telecommunications Price Survey, released by National Utility Service, Inc. on April 16. At the same time, local calling rates decreased by only 1.5 percent. Internationally, the survey found an average long-distance rate decline of 16 percent, in contrast to average local-call rate increases of 10 percent.
The survey measured business telecommunications costs for Australia, Belgium, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United States, Sweden, and Canada.
The cost of a three-minute international call from the United States dropped by 27.4 percent. International call prices in most European countries also dropped radically as suppliers took steps to ward off outside competition. "U.S. providers have entered into cooperative agreements in many parts of Europe, thus significantly opening the telecommunications markets there, allowing for lower-cost alternatives on long-distance calling," said Gary Wohlafka, executive telecommunications analyst at NUS.