Who's on the Line When Call Waiting Beeps?

BOSTON - Consumers and small businesses in Western Massachusetts no longer need to wonder who's calling when they hear the Call Waiting beep on their phone line. With Verizon's new Talking Call Waiting service, they'll also hear the name of the caller.

''Talking Call Waiting is another tool our customers can use to manage their calls, their time and their lives,'' said Anne Kraus-Keenan, Verizon group manager of new product development. ''Like Caller ID and Call Waiting ID, it takes the mystery out of who's calling.''

The service was introduced last fall in Eastern Massachusetts and now is available to Verizon customers throughout the Bay State.

''With Talking Call Waiting, customers can decide who they'll talk to and when, letting them decide between business calls and social calls, urgent calls or leisure calls, customer calls or supplier calls,'' Kraus-Keenan said. ''And, Verizon's network announces the caller no matter which phone you're using.''

Talking Call Waiting costs $5.34 per month for consumers and $7.90 per month for small businesses. The price includes basic Call Waiting service.

Verizon's advanced network uses information about the calling party to set up calls. That information is used by the network to enable Talking Call Waiting and other features like Caller ID, *69 and Call Trace.

Talking Call Waiting and Verizon's basic Call Waiting services use Lucent Technologies' Compact Service Node hardware and software. With the new service, the name of the caller is retrieved from a Verizon database by the network switch and sent in text format to the Lucent service node for text-to-speech conversion. The innovative Lucent technology then speaks the name to the Talking Call Waiting subscriber after the Call Waiting tone. Subscribers can decide whether to interrupt their current call to take the incoming call.

According to Kraus-Keenan, the new service also will be valuable to customers who are visually impaired or physically disabled. These consumers are not able to use Caller ID because they cannot see or get to the display box to read the incoming caller's number.

Talking Call Waiting does not require any additional equipment and works with any telephone, unlike Call Waiting ID which requires a display box.

To sample the Talking Call Waiting message, click on the options below:

Sample 1

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Sample 2

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Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $65 billion in 2000 revenues and more than 260,000 employees. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with nearly 109 million access line equivalents and more than 27.5 million wireless customers. Verizon is also a world-leading provider of print and online directories. 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