CenturyLink raises unlisted phone rates to $5 a month in Washington state, cites growing competition

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CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) subscribers in Tacoma and Gig Harbor, Wash., who want an unpublished phone number will see service rates rise from 75 cents to $5 a month, translating into a total of $60 a year.

In addition to raising the unpublished rates, directory assistance will now cost all users $3 per call.

The telco told the Tacoma News Tribune that the rate increase reflects the state of the competitive market.

Jan Kampbell, a CenturyLink spokeswoman, said that a Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) decision allowing the increase "was based on the extraordinary level of competition that CenturyLink faces in today's telecommunications market and the fact that the commission does not regulate most of CenturyLink's competitors such as wireless and cable companies."

While the new rates are already irking area consumers, the increase has been long coming. 

The WUTC issued a notice last October about a hearing before the WUTC about regulation and pricing for phone services. Later, the WUTC issued a press release where it said it had reached a settlement "allowing CenturyLink pricing flexibility in setting residential and business landline telephone rates."

What's interesting about this rate increase is that it comes at a time when more of CenturyLink's customers are ditching their landline phones in favor of wireless or an over the top (OTT) voice service like Vonage. In the first quarter of 2014, the service provider's landline phone subscriber base declined to 12.9 million from 13.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.

For more:
- The News Tribune has this article

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