Tele-Communication (Telecom) Terms Glossary and Dictionary
WATS: Wide-Area Telephone Service
Wide-Area Telephone Service (WATS), also known as Wide Area Telecommunications Service, is a specialized form of fixed-rate long-distance telecommunication service. WATS lines are commonly used by businesses and government agencies. Some individuals and small corporations also have WATS subscriptions. There are three types of WATS lines: IN-WATS (for incoming calls), OUT-WATS (for outgoing calls), or a combination of both services. IN-WATS lines have telephone numbers with certain area codes reserved expressly for that purpose, such as 800, 888, or 877. People calling these numbers are not charged a long-distance toll. Instead, the recipient (subscriber) is charged a fixed monthly rate up to a certain number of hours of usage. Beyond the limit, an additional toll is imposed. OUT-WATS lines are, in effect, fixed-rate long-distance subscriptions.