Bell Atlantic Creates 'One Singular Sensation' For New York Businesses

Bell Atlantic Creates 'One Singular Sensation'For New York Businesses

Customers Get Local and Long Distance Service, Great Rates and Packages From One Company - Bell Atlantic!

March 14, 2000


Eric Rabe,

Maureen Flanagan,

NEW YORK - Doing business in New York just got easier with the launch of Bell Atlantic's long distance service for businesses.

Building on the successful introduction of its consumer long distance service, Bell Atlantic today unveiled business long distance plans that combine simplicity with savings, as well as packages that deliver greater value and discounts.

With one call to Bell Atlantic, business customers now can get a full suite of voice offerings - local, toll and long distance services. In addition, the company will offer packages that combine these services with enhanced calling features and discounts on directory advertising. And Bell Atlantic can put them all on one bill.

"Business customers told us to keep it simple, and we listened," said Veronica Pellizzi, president and chief executive officer of Bell Atlantic Business Services, the organization responsible for providing long distance service to business customers. "Our easy-to-understand plans, great rates and convenient one-stop shopping will offer businesses extraordinary value."

Pellizzi said the company is committed to simple, straightforward pricing - there are no monthly calling plan fees on Bell Atlantic's most marketed long distance plans.

Beginning tomorrow (March 15), Bell Atlantic will offer a full array of long distance voice services for businesses -- including direct-dialed and toll-free long distance, calling card and international calling plans. The company will serve small to medium-size businesses as well as Fortune 500 companies, including those with offices in New York and operations outside Bell Atlantic's region.

And unlike many competitors, Bell Atlantic will offer local and long distance services throughout its New York service area, not just in the most lucrative markets.

"Today, we say to our more than 500,000 business customers from Manhattan to Montauk, Brewster to Binghamton -- we want your business," said Pellizzi.

The company will roll out its long distance data services shortly, beginning with Private Line service in the second quarter and Frame Relay and Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) services in the third quarter. These services will provide businesses with national and international reach and offer sophisticated network management.

"We will continue to enrich our data portfolio throughout the year to meet the demanding needs of our most sophisticated customers," said Pellizzi. "Our ability to provide a complete set of data services will be greatly enhanced as we expand our long distance rollout to other states in our region."

Bell Atlantic, which won long distance relief in New York last December, is in the process of seeking approval in the District of Columbia and the 12 other states in its Northeast and Mid-Atlantic service area. The company expects to provide long distance service to 20 to 25 percent of business customers across its region within five years.

Simple Calling Plans Meet the Needs of Budgets Big and Small

The long distance plans announced today are the first of many plans Bell Atlantic intends to bring to market in the coming months.

Bell Atlantic's FirmRate sm Calling Plan is a straightforward pricing approach that best meets the needs of small businesses spending up to $100 a month on long distance. FirmRate offers a rate of 8.5 cents a minute-- any day of the week, any time of day - for domestic direct- dialed and toll-free long distance. The plan has no minimum usage requirements and no monthly calling plan fees.

"Some small business customers of our leading competitors may end up paying as much as 12 cents or more a minute for long distance calls once all the extra fees are included," said Pellizzi. "FirmRate will offer those customers savings of 30 percent or more."

Customers will realize additional savings if they sign up for FirmRate for one, two or three years.

Bell Atlantic's SimpleOptions sm Calling Plan is designed for higher volume callers that spend more than $100 per month on long distance. With SimpleOptions, the fixed rate per minute ranges from 8.25 cents to as low as 3.4 cents. The customer's agreed-upon rate is based on their spending level and term agreement. The rate decreases every time they select a higher spending level or longer-term agreement.

SimpleOptions offers customers big savings over the most widely advertised rates of major competitors. For example, a customer that currently spends $9,000 a year on long distance can save $1,000 or more with Bell Atlantic's SimpleOptions plan.

Bell Atlantic's e-Values for Business gives small companies the ease of online ordering for domestic direct-dialed long distance. e-Values offers state-to-state long distance service for eight cents a minute -- all day, any day -- with no minimum usage requirements, monthly recurring charges or long-term commitments.

Even though they order online, e-Values customers still have the ability to speak to a Bell Atlantic representative about their service or bill. In addition, online ordering eliminates many administrative costs Bell Atlantic incurs in signing up new customers. With e-Values, Bell Atlantic saves and customers do, too.

One-Stop Shopping from a Proven Local Provider

A recent national study found that 60 percent of small businesses and 70 percent of medium businesses want a package of local and long distance services. Bell Atlantic's Business Link sm Solutions does just that. Business Link Solutions is a flexible package of services built around a customer's needs.

For example, customers who sign up for Bell Atlantic long distance and subscribe to Bell Atlantic's Centrex® features - such as Call Transfer or Conference Calling -- get a five percent discount off their FirmRate or SimpleOptions plan.

In addition, customers who subscribe to Bell Atlantic long distance for a year or more are eligible for savings of up to $480 on additional or new advertisements on Bell Atlantic's BigYellow® national online shopping directory or in Bell Atlantic's White or Yellow pages directories. The discount also applies to Bell Atlantic's Web@Oncesm Web site creation services.

Customers can sign up for one or both packages. Taken together, the packages deliver even greater savings and value. Bell Atlantic will roll out additional enhancements to Business Link Solutions later this year, including a package that features local, long distance and Internet access service.

Long Distance - Gateway to Growth

Long distance is the gateway to growth for Bell Atlantic - the company's entree to providing data, global connectivity and bundled services. No longer confined to delivering local service alone, Bell Atlantic can help design, implement and support a communications network that best meets a business customer's global needs for voice and data.

"Companies today are burdened with many contacts, contracts and charges for their local and long distance service," said Pellizzi. "It is confusing and time consuming. We're offering customers ways to simplify and save on costs."

Bell Atlantic is building a totally new long distance network to carry voice and data traffic inside its 13-state region and the District of Columbia. The state-of-the-art network is operational in New York and will be turned on in other states as the company receives long distance relief there'.

"We literally started from ground zero to create a modern high-speed network that integrates voice, data, video and Internet traffic on one common ATM fabric," said Stu Verge, president of Bell Atlantic Global Networks, Inc., the organization responsible for building the company's long distance network. "With this advanced structure, Bell Atlantic can now deliver superb end-to-end solutions that connect customer locations between cities and states throughout our region.

"In addition, through strategic agreements, Bell Atlantic will offer long distance voice and data services to 250 countries and locations around the world," said Verge.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With nearly 44 million telephone access lines and 12 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.