College Students Call Home for Free with Verizon's Personal Toll-Free Service

NEW YORK - Parents could hear more often from their college kids with Personal Toll-Free Service from Verizon Long Distance. The toll-free service enables students to call home without putting a dent in their laundry money.

Moms, dads and other customers who subscribe to Verizon's Personal Toll-Free Service get a toll-free number with a private PIN (personal identification number) that callers use to reach them free of charge. Subscribers to the service pay 25 cents per minute to receive state-to-state and in-state, direct-dialed long distance calls. There are no monthly plan charges.

"Personal Toll-Free Service is a great alternative to collect calls or calling cards, which in many cases impose a surcharge," said Jill Wagner, vice president of Consumer Marketing for Verizon Long Distance. "And since customers provide their private PIN only to people they select, they are not bombarded by unwanted calls."

Verizon launched the new service today, in time for the start of the school year when students call home for advice, money, family updates or more money.

In a separate announcement, the company today announced it has signed up one million New York long distance customers in only seven months - reaching its year-end target five months early. Verizon is the national telecommunications company formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE.

Personal Toll-Free Service is available to Verizon customers who subscribe to Verizon's Timeless, e-Values and Best Times long distance calling plans. The company also plans to offer the service to subscribers of its SmartTouch long distance product in the future.

"Personal Toll-Free Service is a two-way street, giving caller and called party an easy, convenient way to stay in touch," said Wagner. "College students can call home anytime they want. And with no monthly plan fees or spending minimums, parents don't have to worry about unexpected charges popping up on their phone bill."

Personal Toll-Free Service can be used on calls from any phone in the U.S., including pay phones. A 24-cent per-call surcharge is added to calls made from pay phones. Callers just dial a toll-free number and punch in the subscriber's PIN to be automatically connected to the subscriber's number.

The service benefits customers who want to be reachable anytime, anywhere. Subscribers can easily reroute incoming toll-free calls when they are not home, but want to be available at the office, their in-law's, via cell phone at the beach or wherever. The first 30 rerouted calls per billing cycle are free. After that, subscribers pay a 75-cent charge for each rerouted call.

Customers who sign up for Verizon Long Distance and Personal Toll-Free service by Nov. 1 get an added bonus. Verizon will pick up the tab on the first toll-free call each month for the first three months, regardless of the length or cost of the call.

Customers can sign up for the service on the Verizon Long Distance Web site, www.callbell.com, or by calling toll free 1-877-526-6023.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 95 million access lines and 25 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.