Bell Atlantic to Launch Nationwide Directory Assistance Service,
Starting in New York
Customers Will Have Easy Access via 4-1-1, Separate Prices
for Local and Distant Listings; Won't Need to Know Area Codes
October 20, 1998
NEW YORK -- Bell Atlantic will turbocharge its directory assistance
service, offering customers listings for anywhere in the country via the
familiar 4-1-1 number.
Customers will be able to get both local and distant telephone numbers
without needing to know area codes simply by telling the operator the city,
state and listing name. Unlike competing services where local listings cost
as much as long distance numbers, local listings will continue to be priced
at their current low rates, which vary by state, and long distance lookups
will cost a competitive 95 cents.
Pending tariff approval, rollout of the service will start in New York in
January and spread across the Bell Atlantic service area over the following
"Bell Atlantic's local and national directory assistance service will provide
the same high quality service our customers already receive from our
operators at a competitive price for national numbers and existing prices
for local numbers," said Kitty Linder, vice president of Bell Atlantic's
Operator Services group.
"Our operators will use listing names, cities and states - not area codes -
to find numbers, whether they're in Manhattan, New York, or Manhattan,
Kansas," she said, doing away with the extra step of identifying the correct
area code traditionally used for national searches. "And if the Manhattan
listing is in the caller's local area, they'll pay the 45 cent local price for the listing, not a national price, as competing services charge."
Prices for local listings vary from 20 cents in New Jersey to 45 cents per
request in New York. National searches currently provided by long
distance carriers using either the area code and 555-1212 or other special
codes, cost between 89 cents and $1.10.
"It's easier for customers to obtain a listing when they ask for it by the city
and state rather than by area code, considering continually changing area
code boundaries and the explosion of new area codes," Linder pointed out.
"Another key advantage our customers can capitalize upon is the skill of
our professional, experienced operators," Linder said. "These folks are
well-trained and have the best data base search tools in the industry. They
know what to ask for to find the right listings, and their goal is to delight
According to Bell Atlantic's surveys, 94 percent of customers who use
directory assistance today are completely satisfied with the service.
Bell Atlantic's service will be available for resale by other carriers.
Bell Atlantic has begun filing for authority to offer the service in 13 states
from Maine to West Virginia and the District of Columbia, and is
preparing its systems to support the service for those states. Features of
local directory assistance service will continue to be provided for local
numbers, including exclusion of non-published numbers from directory
assistance listings and free service to customers with disabilities, as will
the ability for the customer to request that the number be dialed,
automatically, after receiving the local directory listing for an additional
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With more than 41 million telephone access lines
and more than seven 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.