Verizon Adds Helpful Tools For Reviewing Phone Bills Online

NEW YORK - Verizon is giving its New York and New England customers new tools to slice and dice their phone bills while reviewing them online.

Customers who go online to view their phone bills now will be able sort calls by type (regional toll or long distance), by date and time, by number or location called, by length of call or by cost. A new lookup tool lets customers click on a phone number on the bill and see whom they called. The new Bill View pages also will make a full year's bills available for review - the current monthly bill and the previous 11 bills.

"In the Information Age, the Web enables us to develop dynamic new ways to serve our customers," said Maria Malicka, director of e-commerce channel implementation for Verizon.. "Dynamic tools for using data are what customers like and that's what we're giving them."

Residential customers in New York and New England can use the new tools now. The features will be introduced in other areas in coming months.

The Bill View application is available at www.verizon.com. Customers then go to the customer support page for former Bell Atlantic customers. Customers need to register before the first time they use the online Bill View tool and should have a copy of a recent phone bill available during registration. They will select a password during registration so only they can access their billing information online. The registration process is designed to protect the security and privacy of customer information.

Once registered, within roughly 20 minutes, their current and past 11 months' bills will be available in an interactive format, starting with a summary page listing the current month's charges. By clicking on links, customers can review their "Verizon" phone bill, featuring a summary of all current billing for local and toll services, optional services and charges. With one more click, all of their regional toll calls which are carried by Verizon will appear.

Itemized call lists will appear by date, but can be resorted by number called, location called, length of call or cost.

"This feature is particularly valuable to customers who work from home or share the phone service with a roommate," Malicka said. "The customer can sort the calls, making it easier for them to track business calls or share telephone costs."

For callers who don't recognize a called number, clicking on the number will generate a pop-up window which will display the calling party's number and name, as long as it is not an unlisted or non-published number.

There is also a link to information on the customer's long-distance calls, whether dialed from home or billed to that number via a collect calling service or bill-to-third-party feature. Each long-distance company's billing appears separately and calls also can be itemized and sorted. For customers who receive Verizon's "ONE BILL", which combines Verizon and Verizon Wireless charges on a single bill, only the summary of wireless charges will be available initially.

Customers who want to pay their bills online can register for a direct debit bill payment option. Additional online payment options will be introduced soon.

"Our new and improved Bill View pages add a level of convenience that makes it easier to do business with us," Malicka said. Verizon is working on additional enhancements that might include the ability to download the bill to spreadsheet software, do usage trend analysis, or allow customers to assign their itemized toll and long distance calls into groups for tracking assistance.

"It's part of Verizon's commitment to customer care," she said.

Customers who question charges or need more information about their bills can still call their local Verizon business office. Those who need help with the Bill View tool itself should call the Verizon help desk at 1-800-764-3299.

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 more than 100 million access line equivalents and more than 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.