03.07.2002Corporate

Verizon Begins Offering Simple, Innovative Long-Distance Plans in Rhode Island

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


In February, Verizon received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to offer long-distance service in Rhode Island, allowing the company to jointly market local and long-distance services in the state.


"Starting today we are bringing simplicity and savings to long-distance services in Rhode Island," said Donna C. Cupelo, region president of Verizon for Massachusetts and Rhode Island. "Based on our experiences in other markets, Rhode Island customers will benefit from increased competition for both long-distance and local phone services."


The entrance of Verizon into the long-distance market in other Northeast states brought customers greater choice in long-distance and local calling plans. Research by several independent watchdog groups shows that consumers in the Northeast have saved as much as $1.8 billion annually on their phone bills in states where Verizon can offer long-distance service.


Verizon's long-distance plans have competitive, per-minute rates without pricing gimmicks. Most plans do not have monthly charges or minimums.


"It's long distance made simple from Verizon," said Jill Wagner vice president - retail markets for Verizon. "We're offering Rhode Island residents and businesses long-distance calling plans that are innovative and easy to understand. We've eliminated the hidden fees and complicated rate structures. We've made it easy with one provider, one bill and one call for customer service.


"Both residential and business customers told us they want to 'keep it simple' and Verizon's long-distance plans do just that. We offer customized calling plans tailored to fit our customers' lifestyles and calling preferences," Wagner said.


Verizon's residential long-distance service got 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.


Innovative Calling Plans for Consumers and Businesses


Verizon's plans, available in 41 states including Rhode Island, have proven very popular with consumers and businesses alike. Consumers and businesses can choose from an assortment of Verizon long-distance plans designed for domestic and international calling. Verizon also offers toll-free plans and calling cards for both consumers and businesses. Verizon's prices are based on state-to-state, direct-dialed domestic calls. In-state rates may vary slightly. International rates vary depending upon the country called.


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 Rhode Island customers who subscribe to the ValuePack package can add long-distance service at 8 cents a minute (both state-to-state and in-state) and a number of features, including Call Waiting, *69, Call Forwarding, and Speed Dialing, among others. The ValuePack costs $15.99 a month.


Verizon offers the most value for consumers not subscribing to a long-distance plan from their current long-distance company, said Wagner. These customers may pay as much as 25 cents a minute for calls. Verizon's most popular plan, Timelesssm, offers consumers a flat rate of 10 cents a minute for state-to-state and in-state Rhode Island long-distance calls and has no monthly plan fees.


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


Customers can sign up for Verizon long-distance service through its Web site at www.verizonld.com or by calling the local Verizon business office.


In addition to Rhode Island, Verizon provides long-distance service in 40 other states and is proceeding with additional federal applications for permission to serve eight other states and the District of Columbia in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions formerly served by Bell Atlantic (now Verizon). Verizon previously has won federal approval to offer long-distance in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Verizon plans to provide nationwide service to 49 states and the District of Columbia by the end of 2002.


Verizon Long Distance launched its new Rhode Island plans today in a ceremony at the company's state headquarters in Providence. Joining Cupelo, Wagner and other Verizon employees in the celebration were Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin, silver medallists in the men's luge doubles competition during the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Verizon became a founding sponsor of the USA Luge team in 1985.


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 132.1 million access line equivalents and 29.4 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 247,000 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.



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 calls and in-state 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 calls and in-state calls on weekends, and 9 cents a minute Monday -- Friday. No monthly charges or minimum usage requirements. 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) and 7 cents a minute during peak calling hours (8 a.m. -- 5 p.m. M-F). Monthly recurring charge of $4.75.


SmartTouchsm Calling Plan

Eight cents a minute for direct-dialed, state-to-state calls 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 tell the account balance and how many minutes of calling time are available. Taxes and surcharges included. No additional monthly fees or taxes -- all is 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, there is a $3 monthly recurring charge.


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 in the U.S.


Taxes and Universal Service Fund charges apply to all plans except SmartTouch

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.





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 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. No monthly plan fees or minimum charges.


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 7 1/2 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. No monthly plan fees or minimum charges.


FirmRatesm Plus Calling Plan

This local and long-distance package offers even lower rates than FirmRate on direct-dialed, state-to-state calls for long distance customers who subscribe to certain local services, such as Centrex. In-state calls are 9 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 business 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 provide service 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.