• United States

MCI responds to AT&T’s accusations

Aug 05, 20033 mins

AT&T’s claim that MCI disguised call routing in an effort to avoid local access fees is bogus, says MCI.

AT&T’s claim that MCI disguised call routing in an effort to avoid local access fees is bogus, says MCI.

MCI, legally known as WorldCom, filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York Monday that essentially says AT&T is simply trying to derail MCI’s reorganization plans.

In its motion, MCI says AT&T’s accusation “is designed to cause (MCI) competitive and commercial harm by falsely accusing it of misconduct at a time when (MCI) is poised to emerge from bankruptcy.”

MCI’s document says that AT&T’s detailed motion, which was filed in late July with the same court, describes legal, least-cost routing that is commonly used throughout the industry, with the exception of one of AT&T’s claims.  AT&T says that MCI “deceived” it into believing that domestic calls rerouted through Canada actually originated in Canada.

While MCI says this is unequivocally not true, AT&T maintains deceit. And if AT&T’s claim is accurate, MCI did go against standard telecom regulations set by the FCC, observers say. MCI would have had to intentionally change a code on each call that originates in the U.S. and label it with a different code that says the call originated in Canada.

Call routing is probably the biggest issue of AT&T’s claim, which also calls into question how MCI is handling its federal government voice traffic.

MCI is calling for AT&T’s claim to be thrown out of the bankruptcy court, with the majority of the motion removed from the record. But AT&T wasn’t looking for the court to rule on its claim; AT&T stated in its filing that it’s looking for the court to lift a restriction in MCI’s reorganization plan that would prevent AT&T from taking civil action against MCI once it does emerge from bankruptcy.

And even if the judge strikes AT&T’s claim from court records, MCI faces additional scrutiny. The Department of Justice, the FCC and the House Energy and Commerce Committee are all investigating the claims of fraud. And last week the federal government’s General Services Administration suspended MCI from competing on any new contracts until it further reviews the company’s practices.

MCI is permitted to maintain and support all of its existing government contracts and customers.