SAN FRANCISCO -- Pacific Bell has jumped on the prepaid telephone card bandwagon through a joint trial with Protel Inc., a Lakeland, Fla.-based maker of "smart" coin- and cardtype public telephones.

Cards in denominations of $5, $10, and $20 will be sold at Pacific Bell payment offices and at retail outlets such as supermarkets and convenience stores.

In a unique approach for a regional Bell operating company, the cards can be used from any phone in the country to call anywhere in the world, through agreements with interexchange long-distance carriers.

Protel is providing its integrated Call Management System for the pilot, which will last six to 12 months. The management system processes retail orders and series card payments, switches phone calls, debits cash cards, and provides for activation, deactivation, and an audit trail on the cards.

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