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AT&T Starts Direct Dial Service to Armenia

October 24, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) _ For the first time, outside callers to a Soviet republic can dial directly instead of through an operator in Moscow, American Telephone & Telegraph Co. said Thursday.

The new AT&T system links callers to the Soviet republic of Armenia. AT&T said that until now, direct-dial service between foreign nations and the Soviet Union was limited to parts of Moscow.

″Today, Armenian telecommunications leaps seven decades from the 1920s to the 1990s,″ said Robert S. Avoyan, minister of post and telecommunications of the republic of Armenia.

In the Soviet Union, the highest volume of international phone calls are placed to Moscow and Armenia, AT&T said, making Armenia a logical choice to inaugurate a new phone system.

About 1 million ethnic Armenians live in the United States.

AT&T said it installed a digital switching system in Yerevan, the Armenian capital, that allows calls to be dialed directly.

Also Thursday, AT&T said it had received temporary permission from the Federal Communications Commission to add 36 circuits to handle calls between the United States and the Soviet Union. That brings to 127 the number of circuits available between the United States and the Soviet Union outside of Armenia.

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