Verizon's SmartTouch Ends Uncertainty Over Long-Distance Bills

EVERETT, Wash. -Verizon Long Distance customers in Washington now can buy their long-distance service in advance, giving them complete control over what they spend.

SmartTouch, an innovative service option from Verizon Long Distance, enables consumers to know exactly how much they are spending on long-distance calls. Customers establish a SmartTouch home telephone account using a credit card or a Visa* or MasterCard**-branded check or debit card. Calling time is deposited in the customer's account, using spending levels selected by the customer.

"SmartTouch puts customers in charge when it comes to managing their long-distance spending," says Jill Wagner, vice president-marketing for Verizon Retail Markets. "Plus, we are giving customers a great rate with no hidden fees. It doesn't get any simpler."

Customers know exactly what they are paying for each long-distance call. SmartTouch customers pay a low flat rate of 8 cents per minute for state-to-state, direct-dialed calls made from home. There are no monthly plan fees. Long-distance calls within the state of Washington are 9 cents per minute. Domestic directory assistance calls for out-of-state numbers are 50 cents. These rates include all government-required taxes and surcharges, including state sales tax and federal universal service fees.

There are no extra digits to dial, such as for 10-10 dial-around services or prepaid calling cards.

How SmartTouch Works

Once the customer's account is established, a voice prompt at the beginning of each long-distance call informs the customer exactly how much money is in the customer's SmartTouch account and the number of minutes available for the call. Another voice prompt at the end of the call informs the customer of the remaining balance. If the account balance is getting low during a call, a voice prompt will alert the customer. Only the customer hears the account status information on the call.

From their home phones, customers can dial "0-0" or a special toll-free number to get the account balance, add additional time and check call activity anytime, day or night. Customers also can check their account balance, verify call activity and manage their account with Internet access on the Internet at www.mysmarttouch.com. All purchases are posted to the customer's account immediately, so balances can be checked before making the next call.

Verizon customers can also access their SmartTouch accounts away from home and at pay phones by dialing a separate toll-free number and using their unique PIN (personal identification number).

State-to-state, direct-dialed calls made while customers are away from home are 25 cents per minute. Unlike other major long-distance companies, Verizon Long Distance does not add a per-call service charge to its away-from-home feature and there are no special fees to access the account from a pay phone.

SmartTouch Makes Account Management Easy

At the customer's option, Verizon Long Distance also can automatically add time to the customer's account using their check card or credit card account by using the SmartTouch Rapid Recharge program.

Customers have two Rapid Recharge options. Verizon can replenish the SmartTouch account every time the account reaches a level set by the customer. Customers select the threshold and the amount they want Verizon to add to the account in advance. When the account reaches the threshold, the pre-determined amount is added to the account. Customers also can have a fixed amount added to the account each month on a day they select. Unused minutes carry over from month to month, so any money placed in the account stays there until the customer uses it.

SmartTouch Has International Appeal

SmartTouch offers Verizon long-distance customers some of the lowest international rates on direct-dialed calls with no monthly fees. For direct-dialed calls to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands, the rate is the same as that for domestic calls: 8 cents per minute, 24 hours a day with no monthly fees. Like the domestic rates, SmartTouch international rates include all government-required fees and taxes.

Using SmartTouch is simpler than prepaid calling cards or 10-10 dial around services. SmartTouch customers can simply pick up the telephone and dial "011," the country code, plus the number to make calls from home.

In addition to English, SmartTouch voice prompts are available in Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese.

If customers make calls when they are away from home and in a state where Verizon Long Distance cannot yet offer service, calls will be carried USAN, Inc., a long-distance company, and customers will pay USAN rates. Also, USAN charges a $1 surcharge for "away-from-home" calls made to locations outside the continental U.S. In addition to Washington, SmartTouch from Verizon is also available to residents in 27 states.

To get more information about SmartTouch visit Verizon Long Distance's award-winning Web site at www.getsmarttouch.com.

Verizon Communications

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.


*Registered trademark of Visa International Service Association
**Registered trademark of MasterCard International Inc.