Market-driven Innovation Sparks Growth Of Bell Atlantic's Centrex Services

Market-driven Innovation Sparks Growth Of Bell Atlantic's Centrex Services

Success Earns Frost & Sullivan Product Line Strategy Award

June 12, 2000


Jim Smith ,

NEW YORK - In the business communications market, where the hottest new acronyms drive trends, Bell Atlantic continues to reengineer its familiar Centrex product line, beefing it up, slicing and dicing it to fit customer needs, and enhancing it through the innovative application of technology - including the acronyms.

With more than 4.5 million Centrex access lines in service and 32 percent of the total Centrex lines in the country, Bell Atlantic's Enterprise and General Business groups continue to aggressively position the service with both multi-site megafirms and single-office small businesses. Centrex remains a strong product as the business units continue to integrate voice and data solutions.

Offered in a range of flavors from ISDN-based to feature bundles customized for the smallest local businesses, Centrex sales at Bell Atlantic continue to grow.

"We believe in Centrex, and will continue to take advantage of its flexibility to boldly position it as the communications solution for any multi-line business," said Ed McGuinness, vice president of marketing for Bell Atlantic's Enterprise Business group. "As businesses seek ways to integrate and manage voice and data services holistically, we're moving the traditional advantages of the Centrex voice product forward to intersect data in exciting new ways."

This approach earned Bell Atlantic the Frost & Sullivan Market Engineering Product Line Strategy Award for 2000, as cited in the research firm's recent "U.S. Centrex Services Markets" report and analysis.

The award is presented each year to the company that "has demonstrated the most insight into customer needs and product demands. The recipient company has optimize its product line by leveraging products with various price, performance, and feature points required by the market."

"Bell Atlantic has one of the most extensive Centrex product portfolios that is capable of meeting the communications needs of businesses of all sizes and types," the report said. "These solutions are designed to handle the communications needs of a variety of end-users, ranging from small, single-facility operations to large-multiunit organizations."

Frost & Sullivan commended Bell Atlantic's use of its Advanced Intelligent Network technology to host Centrex features that normally would require switch-by-switch modifications and noted that the company is well into trials of Internet Protocol-based Centrex services.

Last week the company began offering a Centrex No Risk Protection Plan to new and existing customers that allows a smooth migration from current Centrex transmission media to IP technology as it becomes available.

"Keeping technology in the Centrex harness and making it do what customers want is what earned us this award, and it's the basis for our success in the marketplace," McGuinness said.

According to the Frost & Sullivan report, Bell Atlantic "is by far the most aggressive player in the market in terms of overall development of its Centrex business."

"This also acknowledges our attention to the needs of the smaller business customer," said Regina Novotny, group president of Bell Atlantic's General Business team. "They are driven by a desire to win and to capture every competitive advantage they can. They shop the market for technology and powerful applications to support their success. All the advantages of Centrex - its features, central office-based intelligence, low capital costs, and outsourced network management, - make it a key solution for the small and medium-sized companies we serve."

"Our tradition in managing the Centrex product has always been driven by the power of the network that supports it, capitalizing on network technologies to improve the service," McGuinness said. "Today, we're migrating the intelligence and data capabilities of emerging network resources directly into the Centrex product line to address customer needs. So we agree with Frost & Sullivan that we're managing this product with vigor and enthusiasm."

Information about Bell Atlantic's line of Centrex services is available by visiting the company's Website at www.bellatlantic.com and clicking on "For Your Business."

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With more than 44 million telephone access lines and more than 20 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.