New Verizon Features Add Fun, Variety To Voice Messaging Service

PITTSBURGH - Need some creative wooing to help win back your boyfriend or girlfriend? Want to send a unique "happy birthday" wish to your mom? Verizon can help.

Starting this week Verizon's Home Voice Mail customers in Pittsburgh can forward excerpts of songs by popular singers such as Britney Spears and Phil Collins to friends and families. Customers also can make their voice mail greeting sassier than the standard, "You have reached...I'll call you back as soon as I can," by picking one of 20 professionally recorded, themed greetings.

Verizon is jazzing up its Home Voice Mail service in the Pittsburgh area this summer by offering these two new voice messaging features -- free of charge. Residential customers who have Verizon's standard voice mail service can forward excerpts of Britney Spears' "From the Bottom of My Broken Heart" and 18 other popular songs - accompanied by personal or pre-recorded messages - to any phone number in the United States. In addition, customers can use themed greetings - ranging from comedy to special sound effects -- in their mailboxes.

A 90-day, free trial starts this week. Pittsburgh is the first Verizon location to enjoy these features powered by Comverse Technology, a leading provider of software and systems enabling network-based, multimedia, enhanced communications services.

The categories for the forwarded song-excerpt messages are birthday, love, congratulations, missing you/friendship, popular hits and summer fun. Song excerpts include N' Sync's "I Believe in You" and Phil Collins' "Can't Stop Loving You."

There are five categories of voice mailbox greetings, including special Pittsburgh greetings, sound effects and comedy.

All customers need to do is dial their Home Voice Mail access number and follow the prompts. Verizon will send a mailer this week announcing the availability of the features with instructions on their use. If they wish, customers may retain their themed greetings after the trial ends on Sept. 30.

Donald Katz, Verizon's group marketing manager, said that network-based voice messaging is becoming increasingly popular across the country. "Customers find the versatility of the service and the fact that there is no equipment to buy or maintain a real draw," he said. "With the new greetings and song dedications, we're trying out features that will give more color and fun to this workhorse product."

Home Voice Mail costs range from $4.50 to $8 a month in Pennsylvania. Customers who try the new, free features are encouraged to tell Verizon about their experiences by visiting www.verizon.com/voicemailtrial. Based on the success of the Pittsburgh offering, the company will consider a national rollout.

Verizon Communications

A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) 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 136.6 million access line equivalents and 33.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third-largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 13.2 million long-distance lines, and the company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. With approximately $67 billion in annual revenues and 227,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.