FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 1996size = +1>
BELL ATLANTIC INTRODUCES FIVE NEW
Arlington,VA--Bell Atlantic is taking on the answering
by adding five new, free features to its popular Answer Call service.
They are being introduced beginning this week in New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the
District of Columbia.
Answer Call is Bell Atlantic's alternative to the answering machine.
Customers need no special equipment in their home since Answer Call
works through telephone company central office equipment. Since the
service was introduced in 1989, it has attracted over one million
customers in the Bell Atlantic region.
"These latest enhancements to Answer Call deliver powerful new
features that customers can use to simplify their lives. They're all
free -- customers don't have to run out and buy the latest edition of
anything. And we'll be offering more new features in the near
future," said Eric Goldstein, Bell Atlantic product manager.
"That's the beauty of Answer Call," he continued. "With
machine, you can only improve it by building a new product and getting
customers to buy it. With Answer Call, Bell Atlantic improves it as
technology evolves, and customers don't have to buy new
Current Answer Call subscribers don't have to do anything to get the
new features. They will be available by April 1 throughout the Bell
Atlantic region at no additional charge as soon as equipment
modifications are complete. Existing customers are being notified by
brochures or telephone bill inserts and will receive a personal
message on their Answer Call service when the new features are
available to them.
The new features give customers additional options in how they use
Answer Call. Subscribers may use the new capabilities or continue to
do things just as they do now, customizing their Answer Call service
to their preferences.
The new Answer Call features include:
- Daily Reminder will allow consumers to create reminder messages
that can be delivered to them at the same time either Monday
through Friday or seven days a week. For example, a customer might
want to record a reminder message to wake up to in the morning.
Previously, customers could only send one-time reminders for
- Special Delivery will notify customers who are away from home
as soon as new messages come in. Answer Call will ring another
number where the customer can be reached to signal arrival of
each new message. In the past, customers were notified only of
messages marked urgent by the caller. This new feature means
customers don't have to keep checking for messages to make sure
they are notified of important calls.
- Time/Date Indicator will automatically announce the time and date
before playing every message if a customer chooses this option.
Previously, customers had to press 6-5 after a message to get this
- Ring Count Change will let customers easily change the number of
times the phone will ring before Answer Call picks up. For
example, customers working out in the garden may want a little
more time to reach the phone. Changing the ring count used to
require a call to a Bell Atlantic 800 number. Now customers can
do it themselves.
- Automated Greetings will allow customers to select a pre-recorded
greeting instead of recording their own greeting. For example, a
woman living alone may prefer an anonymous male voice for security
Goldstein said these latest enhancements demonstrate Answer Call's
value and flexibility.
"They're a direct response to what customers told us in focus
We asked what improvements they wanted. They told us, and we
delivered. This is typical of the way Answer Call has been
continuously improved since we introduced it," he said.
The improvements also show Answer Call's ability to deliver unique
features that go beyond what can be done with conventional answering
machines. "Answer Call is more reliable, gives you more capacity and
features than most answering machines, and can do such unique things
as answer the phone while you're already talking on it," Goldstein
In the future, Bell Atlantic will continue asking subscribers for
input. "In the brochures we're sending out this month, we ask
customers to send us special Answer Call stories -- tales of how
Answer Call was particularly helpful. We'll use this information to
keep in touch with what customers want in this product and to make
plans for future feature development," Goldstein said.
Answer Call is available to Bell Atlantic customers by calling their
Bell Atlantic business office. For residential lines, it costs $6.50
a month for a single mailbox and $9 for service with more than one
Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local
telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the
largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication
marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in
Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is actively developing
high-growth national and international business opportunities in all
phases of the industry.
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