FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 1996
BELL ATLANTIC NYNEX MOBILE PROVIDES MOST ADVANCED WEAPON
IN THE WAR ON FRAUD
Company First to Provide Authentication in
SILVER SPRING, Md. -- Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile today
announced it is
the first wireless carrier in the Washington/Baltimore region to
provide a sophisticated fraud prevention service, called
its customers. Authentication uses an advanced
encryption technology that makes it almost impossible for a customer's
cellular phone number to be cloned -- replicated and used illegally.
costs the industry about $550 million a year.
Authentication service, which is virtually instantaneous and provided
at no additional charge, makes wireless calling easier for customers,
while giving even more protection against thieves who steal cellular
phone numbers for criminal use. Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile customers
in Washington/Baltimore, Northern New Jersey, New York, and
Philadelphia, regions where Authentication has been deployed, simply
need an Authentication-ready phone to take advantage of the service.
Customers who wish to verify if their phone is authenticatable can
check their owner's manual, contact Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile
customer service or their nearest Communications Store.
Customers who use personal identification numbers (PINs) to deter
fraud no longer need to use a PIN to make calls within the
Washington/Baltimore region or any other region with Authentication,
if they have an activated, authenticatable phone. Prior to
Authentication, when a PIN user made a call, the network would prompt
the caller to input the PIN before the call was connected. Now,
Washington/Baltimore area customers with authenticatable phones will
be required to use their PINs only when roaming where Authentication
has yet to be launched.
Authentication recognizes when an authenticatable phone number is sent
from a different phone, before illegitimate phone calls can take
place. With Authentication, identifying information is loaded into
both the phone and the network. When a call is made from a phone
number that has been assigned to an authenticatable phone, the network
asks the phone to perform a mathematical equation only that specific
phone can solve. The authenticatable phone responds by calculating
and transmitting the answer to the network. If the answer is correct,
the call is connected. If a phone is unable to provide the correct
answer, the call is not allowed to go through. All this takes place
in a fraction of a second.
"With Authentication, fraud prevention becomes transparent to our
customers, and we have the potential to reduce our financial losses --
it's a win-win situation," states Gary Schulman, president of Bell
Atlantic NYNEX Mobile's Washington/Baltimore region. "Fraud doesn't
just cost the industry millions, it inconveniences our customers.
While customers have never been required to pay for fraudulent calls,
they're frustrated with the problem nonetheless. We're aggressive
about providing our customers with the technology to protect them from
fraud, and we are encouraged that others in the industry are following
"Authentication ultimately will do away with cloning fraud as we
it today," stated Tom McClure, Cellular Telecommunications Industry
Association director for fraud management. "According to studies
the industry's Fraud Task Force, Authentication technology will
confound bandits for about twenty years. I applaud the work of Bell
Atlantic NYNEX Mobile and other wireless carriers that have deployed
this new technology and that continue to wage war against high tech
Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile was the first cellular carrier in the
industry to bring Authentication to its customers. The service was
initially launched in May 1996, in New York and Northern New Jersey.
The company will roll out the service by year-end throughout its
footprint, which covers a population of 55 million people and includes
the communications-intensive Northeast corridor.
With more than 3.8 million customers, Bell
NYNEX Mobile is the largest wireless service provider on the east
coast and second largest in the United States. Headquartered in
Bedminster, NJ, and regionally headquartered in Silver Spring, Md.,
the company offers a full range of wireless voice, data, and paging
services to the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and through a
separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. The company was formed in July
1995 through the combination of Bell Atlantic Mobile's and NYNEX
Mobile's cellular operations.
- Audrey Schaefer, APR, (301) 236-0222
Nancy Stark, (908) 306-6762