1-800-THE-INFO, New Directory Assistance Option, Provides Callers With Business Listings Nationwide - at No Charge

NEW YORK - Can't remember where that new restaurant is? Need the number of a plumber in a hurry?  Now you can get these and thousands of free business listings by name, category or point of interest when you call 1-800-THE-INFO.  The new service is available nationwide at no charge, from any phone, for any local business number in the U.S.

Trials for the advertising-supported service were completed successfully late last year in Boston and Denver.  "The overwhelming number of calls received at 1-800-THE-INFO showed us that consumers sometimes need an Internet search alternative that will get the number of  the nearest service or a favorite business quickly," said Trudy Adams, Verizon's marketing director for 1-800-THE-INFO.  "Verizon updates the database daily so callers will get the most current business listings, making it easy for them to get contact and location information."

The new service brings yellow pages listings to life by connecting callers with local business advertisers when customers call for directory assistance.  Callers can search through business categories or request a particular listing. 

The free directory search uses an automated system to search for requested business telephone numbers or addresses. During the search, callers will hear an advertisement for related businesses; or they may hear special promotions.  

"With 1-800-THE-INFO, customers can ask for a particular listing or search through a broad range of business categories," said Kitty Linder, president of Verizon LiveSource and Public Communications. "This service is like online search brought to a voice interface.  If a business can't be located, the call will be directed to an operator. We back our service with the largest team of trained operators in the world, unlike the Google and Microsoft services."

In contrast to other similar services, Verizon LiveSource operators handle search requests that can't be completed by the automated system - at no additional charge. This enables callers to receive immediate and accurate information.

The 1-800-THE-INFO service gives business listings verbally and offers text messages to a cell phone when requested, making it easy for customers to use and keep the information - be it a telephone number, address or promotional offer.  In addition, customers are able to get businesses closest to their immediate location in most major American cities when they prompt the search system to provide a local point of interest.  Wireless calls are subject to the provider's airtime and text message fees.

The operating system of 1-800-THE-INFO includes Idearc Media's Superpages.com® pay-for-performance advertisers and voice-recognition technology from Nuance Communications.

For more information on the service, visit http://www.800theinfo.com/.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 66 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.