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Wide Area Telephone Service

In telecommunication, a Wide Area Telephone Service (WATS) is a toll service offering for customer dial-type telecommunications between a given customer [[[user]]] station and stations within specified geographic rate areas employing a single access line[?] between the customer [user] location and the serving central office. Each access line may be arranged for either outward (OUT-WATS) or inward (IN-WATS) service, or both.

In other words, with "outward WATS" one may make an unlimited number of long distance calls (toll calls), for a fixed price, within pre-determined time and distance constraints. With long distance costs at historic lows, this type of arrangement has become common, and instead of "outward WATS" it is known simply as a "flat-rate plan."

With "inward WATS," subscribers are issued a toll-free telephone number, typically beginning with a designated toll-free area code such as "800" or "888," and anyone may call that number without having to pay a toll charge. The recipient pays for the calls at a flat rate or other predetermined rate. "Inward WATS" service is available with Automatic Number Identification, a form of super-Caller ID.

Note: The offering is for fixed-rate inter- and intra-LATA[?] services measured by zones and hours.

Source: from Federal Standard 1037C and from the Code of Federal Regulations, Telecommunications Parts 0-199

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