Rhode Island Customers First to Get Easy Access To Verizon's 24-hour Online Service Center

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Verizon has swung wide open the entrance to its dynamic e-commerce Web site by giving temporary user IDs and numeric passwords to all residential customers in Rhode Island not already registered to use the site.

More than 453,000 consumers in Rhode Island will find computer-generated IDs and passwords printed on their May phone bills allowing them to use the site and its advanced features immediately. Upon visiting the site and using the codes the first time, customers will be able personalize both the ID and password. Normally, customers must first register to use the site, filling in an electronic form with security validation based on their most recent phone bill.

As always, Verizon is taking all necessary steps to protect customer information. This speedy registration capability still restricts access to customer information to that specific customer and does not change Verizon's security procedures.

"Our Web site, www.verizon.com, is already one of the most successful e-commerce sites in the country," said Tammie Cottom, vice president of operations and technology for Verizon's Retail Markets group. "By circulating temporary access codes, we're putting out the welcome mat and inviting new customers to sample the site and enjoy its features.

"Our customers do business with us on the site on their own terms -- 24-hours a day from any personal computer anywhere in the country -- and they love it. They shop. They order. They log repair requests. They review and pay bills. And they ask questions and get answers."

Several million more customers in additional Northeast states will receive their temporary log-on codes over the next two months so that they, too, can sample the site immediately.

Verizon completely re-engineered its Web site 18 months ago.

"We migrated from the kind of catalog-brochure-corporate information site so common to businesses today to an actual business channel where customers research products and services available to them, enter their orders and find the services are then automatically activated," Cottom said.

"Bill reviewing and payment is an extremely popular feature that offers customers instant access to billing data. For example, customers can view their calls based on time, day, number or other data. They can find the name associated with a called number listed on the bill. And, of course, they can make an instant payment via debit card or checking account number. Those who pay online also have the option of suspending their paper bills."

Rhode Island customers who choose not to use the site and want the temporary access disabled can call their Verizon business office to have the codes deactivated. Until activated or disabled, the codes will appear monthly on the customer's bill. In addition, the randomly-generated password will automatically change each month until the customer activates it.

Since the launch of the new Web site, nearly 3 million customers have registered to use the site, and each month nearly 5 million customers pay their bills online. Verizon has logged more than 700,000 individual sales over the site, and consumers nationwide have logged and tracked more than 5,000 repairs each month.

In 2002, Best Practices in Corporate Communications recognized the site as one of the most successful e-commerce tools in the marketplace.

In re-engineering the site, Verizon's Information Technology Group had to integrate the former Bell Atlantic and former GTE Web sites and develop an innovative plan to link dozens of normally incompatible back-office systems. The latest innovation is a software tool that allows customers who are moving to use the Web site to place an order to disconnect telephone service at their former home and install it at their new one.

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.