ATHENS, Greece — Bell Atlantic [NYSE:BEL] announced today that its pioneering Greek mobile provider Stet Hellas Telecommunications S.A and National Bank of Greece, the largest commercial bank in Greece, now offer both companies' customers one of the world's first services for recharging prepaid mobile phone credits and paying monthly phone bills via automatic teller machines (ATMs).
The National Bank of Greece's nationwide network of 750 ATMs is the largest in Greece and will expand to 800 locations by the end of the year, and 1,000 locations by the year 2000.
Telestet customers can pay their bills through the 24-hour network using their bank debit card (ETHNOCASH), and can purchase prepaid credits by using either a debit card or a credit card.
Stet Hellas markets its prepaid service using the product name B Free by Telestet. Since the introduction of B Free by Telestet in 1997, prepaid service has become the fastest growing segment of the mobile telephony market in Greece.
The agreement marks the first step in the collaboration between Stet Hellas and the National Bank of Greece. The companies plan to launch shortly industry-leading mobile banking products that will allow customers easy, remote access to a host of banking services via Telestet's network.
The Governor of the National Bank of Greece, Mr. Theodore Karatzas said, "Our bank, in its continuing efforts to step up its operational efficiency and upgrade the level of client service is now offering a set of new services that make innovative use of technology. Working with a dynamic partner such as Telestet, will enable us to improve and widen the options available to both our customers. The National Bank of Greece is thus reasserting the importance it attributes to consolidating its role and position as a leading force in the field of retail banking."
"The launch of these new services for Telestet customers is significant. Just as automatic teller machines and mobile phones have created new freedom for our customers, our new collaboration will create even greater freedom for the benefit of our customers," stated the Managing Director of Stet Hellas, Roberto Rovera. "From our perspective, National Bank of Greece is an outstanding new partner in Telestet's growing, convenient and diverse family of quality points of sale. Our goal is to ensure that our customers find it easy to do business with us whenever and wherever they want."
Stet Hellas Telecommunications S.A. is at the forefront of the mobile communications industry in Europe. To its growing base of more than 797,000 customers in Greece, the company's Telestet brand stands for innovative services and the latest in communications technology. The company's shareholders include Stet Mobile Holdings NV, Bell Atlantic and the Interamerican Group, and its stock is publicly traded on the NASDAQ (STHLY) and Amsterdam (STHLS) exchanges. Internet users: Visit our NEW web site at www.telestet.gr.####