WorldCom helps troops call home for the holidays

About a thousand troops a day in Iraq are getting a chance to call home, thanks to calling centers WorldCom Inc. has established at strategic military sites around the country.

From Dec. 22 through Jan. 5, the company is providing around-the-clock free telephone calls from more than 45 phones set up at the call centers. Through today, approximately 5,123 troops have used the phones, said Debbie Lewis, a WorldCom spokeswoman, or about a thousand calls a day. "There's a 30-minute wait to get in to use the phones," she said.

For troops and families traveling through, stationed or recuperating in the United States, WorldCom has provided more than 93,000 100-minute pre-paid calling cards to military support groups for distribution during the holiday season, the company said. Calling cards also have been provided to Walter Reed and Bethesda medical centers, and for distribution at Baltimore-Washington and Atlanta Hartsfield airports.

For Marine Corps personnel stationed in Okinawa and Camp Fuji Japan, the company has lowered its rates from Dec. 20 through Jan. 5 for calls placed to the United States. The company also will complete for free calls placed through the Military Affiliate Radio System.

WorldCom is headquartered in Ashburn, Va. It is the largest provider of telecommunications services to the federal government, and is ranked No. 8 on the Washington Technology 2003 Top 100 federal contractors.

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