Alliance Formed To Provide Voice Messaging Coast To Coast
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June 12, 1996
NYNEX CONTACT: Sharon Beadle,
Alliance Formed To Provide Voice Messaging Coast To Coast
-- Alliance's Directory Could Include Over 7 Million Users --
SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Imagine sending a voice message to 10 business
associates in 10 different locations around the country -- recording that
message only once -- and knowing they'll get your message even though
they're on different voice mail systems. Thanks to a joint venture
announced today by Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, NYNEX and Pacific Bell
Information Services, all of this will soon be a reality.
The joint venture, called The Messaging Alliance, L. P., will enable the
companies to link their voice messaging services, currently used by over 4
million customers across the nation. Through The Messaging Alliance's
directory service, voice mail customers will have the ability to send
messages from one mailbox to another. To address a message, all they'll
need to know is the recipient's phone number. The enhancement is
significant for the voice mail market, which totals 45 to 50 million
In addition, The Messaging Alliance signed a memorandum of
understanding with Stentor, the alliance of Canada's major telephone
companies, which will provide The Messaging Alliance's first international
gateway. This means that voice messages can be exchanged between the
United States and Canada -- expanding the potential directory listing by
an additional 3 million subscribers.
Voice mail customers, both businesses and consumers, who subscribe to
this new service will be able to send messages directly from one mailbox
to another, faster and cheaper than the traditional way of sending
messages -- even if they use different voice mail systems and providers.
For example, it will take only one phone call for: a national sales
manager to communicate new pricing information to every sales
representative; a financial firm to notify all of its customers of new
rates; or a new parent to let each family member know about the birth of a
Once service agreements are final, The Messaging Alliance plans to begin
offering service to the four alliance participants in the fourth quarter
of this year and to expand service to include other voice messaging
providers nationwide in 1997.
The voice messaging providers will determine specific pricing for their
business and residential customers. Long-distance charges will apply on
messages sent across LATA boundaries and will be paid to the sender's long
The Messaging Alliance also will offer a fax mailbox-to-fax mailbox
directory service to the companies who offer fax mailboxes.
"The Messaging Alliance represents a solid solution for local phone
companies and service bureaus to interconnect their millions of users --
both public and private -- through new, dynamic open-standards messaging
capabilities," said Terry Mulready, chief executive officer of Pacific Bell
Information Services, and chair of the Alliance's Management Committee.
"What sets this apart from other previous announcements of the global
messaging concept is that we will start with a potential directory of
seven million business and residential users who will be able to exchange
"This is a very real, very exciting first step in creating a true global
system that will make it easy for businesses and consumers everywhere to
exchange voice and fax messages at any time of day or night," said Thomas
Reiman, president of product management at Ameritech.
The Messaging Alliance is planning to deploy a directory service on an
IBM platform that provides open system and network connectivity. ITU-T
X.400 and X.500 will be the backbone technologies; AMIS-Analog and
AMIS-Digital interfaces will allow addressing and routing of voice mail
and fax messages from one system to another regardless of what system they
were created on. The Messaging Alliance will add internet mail protocol
(SMTP/MIME) support this year.
The platform has been tested successfully with the exchange of messages
between voice mail systems manufactured by Boston Technology, Centigram,
Digital Sound, Octel and Unisys. Many of these systems are used by
alliance members to provide voice mail to their business and residential
"We're eliminating barriers to sending messages between different voice
mail systems, by making voice messages as seamless as telephone calls,"
said Mark Kutner, Bell Atlantic Small Business Services president and vice
chair of the Alliances management committee. "Small businesses can use
this service to communicate easily and efficiently with their associates,
suppliers and industry peers across the country. College alumni a
ssociations will be able to communicate with their chapter presidents
across the country and local governments can get in touch with volunteer
groups about upcoming community events."
"In addition to the small business market, we see high-growth potential
in the consumer market," said NYNEX Vice President, Core Marketing Amy
McIntosh. "Consumers will find this service affordable, convenient and
easy to use."
"Our involvement with The Messaging Alliance is in line with our
commitment to provide U.S. and Canadian-based companies with operations in
North America complete, cross-border, seamless telecommunications
solutions," says Carol Stephenson, president and chief executive officer,
Stentor Resource Centre, Inc.
"This is only one of a number of cross-border services we will offer that
allow our customers to more effectively manage their North American
NYNEX is a global communications and media company that provides
a full range of services in the northeastern United States and
high-growth markets around the world, including the United Kingdom,
Thailand, Gibraltar, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines, Poland,
Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
The Corporation is a leader in the telecommunications, wireless communications,
cable television, directory publishing
and entertainment and information services.
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