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    Circle K Promotes Holiday Shopping

    Chain expands offering of prepaid communications products for last-minute shoppers.


    PHOENIX -- Circle K, a subsidiary of Bartlesville, Okla.-based Phillips Petroleum Co., now offers convenience store customers a complete array of communication products just in time for the holiday gift-giving season.

    Circle K features prepaid communication product lines available from reputable brand names including MCI, Cricket, AT&T Wireless, Verizon, Tracfone, Cingular, Alltel and Slingshot. And this December, just in time for the holidays, Circle K is offering a free $10 MCI Prepaid Long Distance card with any $20 Card purchase.

    The company K is also offering $20 off on prepaid wireless phones from Cingular and AT&T.

    In response to customer needs, Circle K now offers three pay-in-advance communications choices: prepaid long distance, prepaid wireless and prepaid Internet.

    "Recently, we have seen an enormous jump in wireless phone usage by customers young and old, and the prepaid option is really taking hold. In fact, within the next three years, one out of every two wireless phone customers are expected to be prepaid," said Keith Brand, senior category manager for telecommunications and electronic services for Phillips.

    The United States is seeing an explosion in prepaid, or pay-in-advance, communications. According to a Yankee Group 2000 study, the number of prepaid communications minutes purchased will jump from 3 billion per year in 1997 to over 40 billion in 2004.

    The main reasons for this growth are: with prepaid communications, there is no credit check, contract, deposit or age restriction; prepaid customers only pay for the time they use; and users know exactly what they're going to spend -- there's no surprising bill at the end of the month.

    "Customers have really responded to our prepaid communications products, seeing Circle K as the headquarters for their pay-in-advance telecommunication needs," Brand added. "And regardless of where our customers originally bought their prepaid wireless phones, they're now coming to us for their refill time -- simply because we're more convenient."

    Phillips operates a branded network of more than 12,000 convenience stores under the Phillips 66, Union 76, Circle K, Exxon, Mobil and Coastal brands.

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