Bell Atlantic Launches 'National 411' in West Virginia

Bell Atlantic Launches 'National 411' in West Virginia

More Operator Jobs Come to State

April 5, 1999


Paul Miller,

Jim Smith,

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Starting today, a Bell Atlantic customer in
West Virginia can dial 411 to get the phone number for Aunt Martha in
Columbus or Uncle Henry in Lexington. The company's new national
directory assistance service has helped spark a recent increase in the
number of operator jobs in the state.

"West Virginians are benefiting in two ways from our new national
directory assistance service," said Dennis Bone, president and CEO of Bell
Atlantic - West Virginia. "First, when they dial 411, they can now get
accurate phone listings for anyone in the country. Secondly, the expanded
service is helping, in part, to create 80 new operator jobs in the Mountain

Bone said that 44 of the new operator positions have already been filled
and are divided between Bell Atlantic centers in Beckley and Charleston.
The company will hire and train an additional 16 operators in the coming
weeks. He said some of the additional jobs are a direct result of the
increased calling that the National 411 service is expected to generate.

In addition, Bone said the company expects to add 20 more operators for
the summer months only, bringing the total number of directory assistance
operators in West Virginia to 280. The Beckley and Charleston directory
assistance centers handle 411 calls from Bell Atlantic customers in West
Virginia and the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

With National 411, customers simply dial the familiar 411 code for
directory assistance, say the city, state, and name or business whose
number they want, and the operator will provide it.

Bell Atlantic's systems will automatically bill for local listings at the
regular low price of 50 cents, after a residential customer has made two
free local directory assistance calls in a month. All requests for national
listings will be billed at a competitive 95 cents.

Competing directory assistance services charge up to $1.40 for all
lookups, local and national. "Consumers often don't know they are likely
to pay more when they ask for a local listing from these services," Bone

"West Virginia consumers will benefit from more choices in national
directory assistance," he added. "We commend the West Virginia Public
Service Commission for its prompt action to foster competition in this

"Our mission is simple -- to give excellent service at fair prices and to
keep directory assistance as hassle-free as it has always been," said Kitty
Linder, vice president of Operator Services for Bell Atlantic.

Linder noted the new service makes life easier for callers as well.
"Customers no longer need to know the area code for the listing they want
-- just the city and state. With the proliferation of new area codes across
the country, this will make finding a number easier for our customers," she

Bell Atlantic today is launching an advertising campaign throughout West
Virginia to acquaint customers with the new service.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With more than 42 million telephone access lines
and 8.6 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.