07.01.2002Corporate

Verizon Begins Offering Competitive, Innovative Long-Distance Plans in Maine

PORTLAND, Maine -- Verizon Long Distance today began offering innovative, straightforward long-distance calling plans that bring the true benefits of competition -- choice and value -- to Maine consumers and businesses.


On June 19, Verizon received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to offer long-distance service in Maine, allowing the company to jointly market local and long-distance services in the state.


"Starting today, we are bringing new choices and savings to long-distance customers in Maine," said Edward B. Dinan, president of Verizon Maine. "Maine customers will benefit from increased competition for both long-distance and local phone services."


With Verizon now offering long-distance in other Northeast states, customers get greater choice in long-distance and local calling plans. According to research by several independent watchdog groups, the result is that consumers in the Northeast have saved as much as $1.8 billion annually on their telephone bills.


"We're offering Maine residents and businesses long-distance calling plans that are innovative and easy to understand," said Robert Perry, executive director -- product marketing for Verizon. "Verizon can now provide a whole portfolio of calling services -- local, toll, Internet access, wireless and long-distance all on one bill. Verizon makes it easy with one bill and one call for customer service."


Verizon today introduced its ONE BILL® program in Maine, which allows Verizon local service customers to have their Verizon Wireless billing included on their local bill. Other services are always included on the regular monthly bill at no additional cost.


"Customers told us they want plans that meet their unique needs at home and at work, and Verizon's long-distance plans do just that. We offer customized calling plans tailored to fit our customers' lifestyles and calling preferences," Perry said.


Verizon's long-distance plans, available in 43 states including Maine, have proven popular with consumers and businesses alike. Both can choose from an assortment of long-distance plans designed for domestic and international calling. Verizon also offers toll-free plans and calling cards for both consumers and businesses.


Innovative Calling Plans for Residential Consumers


Verizon residential long-distance service earned top marks in "overall satisfaction" on the Yankee Group's annual Technologically Advanced Family Survey, ahead of "big three" competitors AT&T, MCI/WorldCom and Sprint. Of customers queried, 76 percent gave Verizon's service "excellent or above average," better than Sprint, AT&T or MCI/WorldCom. According to the Yankee Group, a Boston-based technology research and consulting company, Verizon's "strong customer acquisition strategies" are a key factor in bolstering the company's customer rating.


Some plans enable customers to purchase long-distance service in advance or to bundle long-distance with packages of Verizon products and services. For instance, Verizon Maine customers who subscribe to Local Package can add long-distance service with the Timeless sm plan at 8 cents a minute (both state-to-state and in state). The Local Package is $35.73 per month and includes the Timeless plan, the local line, unlimited local calling and four or more value added services like Call Waiting and Caller ID. Local and Toll Package is also available for $59.95, which offers consumers the Timeless plan, plus local line, unlimited local calling, 300 minutes of regional toll calling (additional minutes at 7-cents per minute), and up to 12 value-added services.


"Verizon Long Distance offers the most value for consumers not subscribing to a long-distance plan from their current long-distance company," said Perry. "These customers may pay as much as 25 cents a minute for calls. Verizon's most popular plan, Timelesssm, offers consumers a rate of 10 cents a minute for state-to-state and in state Maine long-distance calls."


Flexible Plans Meet Needs of Smallest Business to Largest Enterprise


Verizon is offering long-distance voice and data services designed to meet the requirements of small, medium-size and large businesses, government agencies and education customers in Maine.


"There's a plan here for everyone -- from the lowest- to highest-volume long-distance callers," Perry said. "We will make it easy to do business with Verizon."


Verizon's plans offer small and medium-size businesses the simplicity of bundled packages of local and long-distance services, one bill, and one place to call for their local, long-distance and other communications needs.


The company offers customized calling plans for medium-size to large businesses, including switched and special access. Customized plans for enterprise customers can include services from a comprehensive suite of data transport products, including private line (at transmission speeds of DS-0 through OC-48), asynchronous transfer mode (ATM at transmission speeds of DS-1 through OC-12) and frame-relay service.


Residential customers and small and medium businesses can sign up for Verizon long-distance service by calling their local Verizon business office. Beginning July 3, both can check the company Website at www.verizonld.com for more information about Verizon long-distance plans. Enterprise customers can contact their account manager or visit the Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group Web site at www.verizon.com/enterprisesolutions.


In addition to Maine and 42 other states where Verizon offers long distance, the company is proceeding with federal applications for permission to serve Delaware and New Hampshire. The company has won approval in New Jersey, and will begin offering service there later this month. Later this year, Verizon plans to file for approval for in the remaining jurisdictions in the mid Atlantic region formerly served by Bell Atlantic, including Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. Verizon has won federal approval to offer long-distance in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont.


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 133.8 million access line equivalents and approximately 29.6 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and nearly 248,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.


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Long Distance Made Simple. Only From Verizon.


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Choose from the following simple, "surprise-free" plans for residential customers:


Timelesssm Calling Plan

One low, 10-cents-a-minute rate for direct-dialed, state-to-state and in-state long-distance calls -- every time, every day. No monthly charges or minimum usage requirements.


e-Valuessm Calling Plan

Five cents a minute for direct-dialed, state-to-state and in-state long-distance calls on weekends. 10 cents a minute for direct-dialed, state-to-state calls and 9 cents for in-state long-distance calls Monday - Friday. No monthly charges or minimum usage requirements. Through 7/9/02, 9 cents a minute for state-to-state calls Monday - Friday. Sign up at www.verizonld.com.


Talk Time Calling Plan

Save on long distance by buying in bulk with rates as low as 6 cents a minute. The more time purchased, the lower the rate: buy 60 minutes for $5 a month (additional minutes are 10 cents a minute), 300 minutes for $21 a month (additional minutes are 8 cents a minute) or 500 minutes for $30 a month (additional minutes are 6 cents a minute).


Best Timessm Calling Plan

Five cents a minute for state-to-state and in-state long-distance calls during off-peak calling hours (5 p.m. - 8 a.m. Monday - Friday and all weekend). 8 cents a minute for state-to-state calls and 7 cents a minute for in-state calls during peak calling hours (8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F). Monthly recurring charge of $4.95. Through 7/15/02, state-to-state calls during peak hours will be 7 cents a minute and the monthly recurring charge will be $4.75.


SmartTouchsm Calling Plan

Five cents a minute for direct-dialed, state-to-state and 9 cents a minute for in-state long-distance calls when time is purchased in advance with cash, or a credit card, or a Visa®- or MasterCard®-branded check/debit card. Voice prompts indicate the account balance and how many minutes of calling time are available for this call. No additional monthly fees, taxes or surcharges-all are included in the per-minute price. Sign up at www.getsmarttouch.com.


International Savings Plan

Low, flat rates for direct-dialed, international long-distance calls. Rates vary by country. Monthly recurring charge of $3.


Personal Toll-Free

A toll-free number with a private PIN code (personal identification number) that callers use to reach customers free of charge. Basic rate is 25-cents a minute to receive calls made within the U.S.


Local Package

$35.73 a month for the Timeless plan with a low rate of 8 cents a minute for long distance, plus local line, unlimited local calling and directory assistance, and four or more value-added services.


Local and Toll Package

$59.95 a month for the Timeless plan with a low rate of 8 cents a minute for long distance, plus local line, unlimited local calling, 300 minutes of regional toll calling (additional minutes at 7 cents per minute), and up to 12 value-added services.


Taxes and Universal Service Fund charges apply to all plans; SmartTouch incorporates these charges into the per-minute price.


Calling Card

With all plans, a Verizon Long Distance calling card lets customers make away-from-home domestic calls for 50 cents a minute when Verizon carries and bills the call. In states where Verizon Long Distance cannot carry the call, United States Advanced Network, Inc. (USAN) will provide service at rates, terms and conditions set by USAN.


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Choose from the following simple, 'surprise-free' plans for business customers:


FirmRatesm Calling Plan

For business customers who spend less than $100 a month on long distance, Firm Ratesm offers a rate of 9 cents a minute for direct-dialed, in-state and state-to-state long-distance calls -- every time, every day. Optional term plans lower the 9-cents per-minute rate. Customers can even add Toll Free at the same rate.


SimpleOptionssm Calling Plan

For business customers who regularly spend more than $100 a month on long distance, SimpleOptionssm offers a variety of low, per-minute rates (7 1/2 cents or less for direct-dialed, state-to-state calls and 9 cents a minute for in-state long-distance calls) based on volume and term commitments. Toll-free and international usage applies to minimum spending levels.


FirmRatesm Plus Calling Plan

This plan offers even lower rates than FirmRate on direct-dialed, state-to-state long-distance calls for customers who subscribe to certain local services, such as Centrex. State-to-state and in-state long-distance calls are 7 cents a minute. (Similar discount packages are also available with the SimpleOptionssm Calling Plan). No monthly plan fees or minimum charges.


Talk to the World Plan

This plan is for businesses that make international calls. For a $3 monthly service fee, businesses can save on calls to more than 250 foreign countries and locations.


International Regional Calling Plan

This plan provides business customers with greater savings if they call a single country or region the most. Customers pay $3 a month and pre-select a region to receive the lowest rates to the countries they call the most.


Toll-Free Service

Enables businesses to stay in touch with customers and suppliers by using an "800," "888" or similar number.


Calling Card

With all plans, a Verizon Long Distance calling card lets customers make away-from-office domestic long-distance calls for 36-cents a minute or less under term plans when Verizon carries and bills the call. In states where Verizon Long Distance cannot carry the call, United States Advanced Network, Inc. (USAN) will carry the call at rates, terms and conditions set by USAN. If you use a payphone, a federally mandated, 24-cent payphone compensation surcharge will apply.


Taxes and Universal Service Fund charges apply. Other mandated surcharges may also apply.


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Choose from the following plans for large business, government and education customers:


Great Connections

A calling plan designed for customers who purchase switched access from Verizon and have annual long-distance expenditures of $10,000 to $24,000.


Custom Connections II

A calling plan designed for customers with annual long-distance expenditures between $24,000 and $360,000. It is also available for those who purchase switched or dedicated access from Verizon.


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Verizon also offers inbound and outbound international service, domestic and international toll-free services and calling cards. The company also will develop customized packages of long-distance voice services for customers with specific requirements.


Verizon also has a comprehensive suite of data transport products, including private line (at transmission speeds of DS-0 through OC-48), asynchronous transfer mode (ATM at transmission speeds of DS-1 through OC-12) and frame relay service.


Long-distance services for enterprise customers are provided by Verizon Select Services Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary.