US long distance carrier MCI Corp has stepped up its attack on the local phone market saying it will shake-up the $6 billion residential local toll calling market by offering savings of up to 59% to consumers in 49 states. Although still prevented from entering the local loop, MCI says that it will use its authorization to compete for local toll calls in 49 states by undercutting the charges of the Regional Bell Operating Companies’ (RBOC) with a flat rate in each city. Local toll calls are those calls placed within a Local Access Transport Area (LATA), a geographic calling region outside of the local calling area. Charges for these calls are exclusive of the standard local phone bill rate and are typically itemized on phone bills as local or regional toll calls. According to MCI, in some states can be more expensive than long-distance calls, despite a shorter geographic distance. As an example, MCI said California consumers would be charged a flat rate of four cents a minute under its plan, 42% less than Pacific Bell’s basic rates. The flat rate will vary from state to state, however, dependant upon regulated access charge set within the state. Some states now allow consumers to pre-select their local toll carrier – much like they with long-distance companies. Yet in other states consumers have to dial a five-digit code to use a carrier other than their local phone company for local toll calls.