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NEW YORK - For just 25 cents, callers in New York City now can call family and friends around the world for a one-minute chat when they call from a Verizon payphone.
Starting this week, more than 20,000 Verizon payphones in New York City will be equipped to handle international direct-dialed calls through an agreement with Phone1, a company that provides international long-distance service. The specially equipped phones with bright yellow handsets will be easy to spot.
"We expect this great deal on international calling from Verizon payphones will be a big hit with New York's diverse population and the city's huge concentration of tourists from around the world," said Paul Francischetti, vice president of marketing and development for Verizon Public Communications. "Using just pocket change New Yorkers can stay in touch anywhere in the world from anywhere in the city, and visitors can call home without inflating their hotel bills."
Few long-distance companies provide international direct-dialed calling from payphones at reasonable prices. Few payphones in New York City allow international calling using coins, and the average price for a one-minute, international payphone call using a prepaid calling card is $2.50.
"Phone1 has assembled an international calling network that makes worldwide communication easy and affordable," said Dario Echeverry, president and CEO of Phone1Globalwide, Inc. "This is a service option that will add new value for consumers to the thousands of payphones Verizon operates in New York."
To launch the new product, Verizon and Phone1 will give visitors to the Empire State Building a quarter they can use to make a one-minute international call from the specially equipped payphones. The free calling will be offered Nov. 18 - 22, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to visitors who have purchased tickets to the 86th floor Observation Deck, more than 1,000 feet above the city.
"We are always anxious to enhance our visitors' experience at the Empire State Building," said Lydia A. Ruth, special events coordinator for the New York landmark. "When Verizon and Phone1 proposed the free calling event to us, we jumped at the chance to participate. Thousands of visitors will have the thrill of calling a relative or a friend back home to say hello from the top of the Empire State Building."
The 25-cent price is an introductory offer through the end of the year for the new direct-dial international calling at Verizon payphones throughout New York City. Callers can dial many countries for one minute with 25 cents in coins. An additional $1 in coins will buy one to 10 minutes depending on the call's destination. The service is only available using coins.
Dialing instructions will be placed on the specially equipped phones with bright yellow handsets. Callers only need to dial the international number they wish to reach.
There are no toll-free access or personal identification numbers to dial. Voice prompts tell the user when to deposit the coins and how many minutes that will buy. No operators are involved, unless a caller needs assistance . When 30 seconds of the call remain, a recording will tell the caller to deposit $1 in coins for an additional block of time. If no coins are deposited, the call will end when the time expires.
In addition to handling the international payphone calls, Phone1, a Miami-based company, will handle customer service and advertising for the new Verizon offering.
"This new service is the next step in Verizon's continuing effort to strengthen our payphone business with calling features and services that help meet the challenge of competitive alternatives like wireless phones and e-mail," Francischetti said. "Making payphones global in reach at a great price will reinforce the value of payphones to both callers and the property owners who make them available to the public."
The new service will be promoted in advertisements starting mid-December that will direct customers to seek out Verizon payphones with the yellow handsets for international coin calls.
A complete list of countries and per-minute prices is available at www.phone1.com.
Verizon companies provide domestic, long-distance, direct-dialed calling at payphones in states where Verizon is currently authorized to provide long-distance service. In other jurisdictions, various long-distance providers carry the calls.
Phone1, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Phone1Globalwide, Inc. (PHGW.ob), a Miami, FL-based facilities provider of integrated communications services to U.S.-based local and long distance telecommunications and payphone operators. Through our subsidiaries, we maintain operating agreements that deliver services in many countries throughout the world using third-party networks. We also use proprietary and exclusively-licensed versions of proprietary technology to offer international and domestic long distance telephone calling from payphones in the United States to anywhere in the world. For more information visit www.phone1.com.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.0 million access line equivalents and 31.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and more than 236,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 35 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.
Lacy Yeatts, Verizon, 804-779-4097
John Bonomo, Verizon, 212-395-7756
Dan Diaz, Verizon, 212-395-7602
Nat Brennan, Phone1, 305-371-3300
Dilowe Barker, Phone 1, 305-371-3300
Lydia A. Ruth, Empire State Building, 212-736-3100