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PITTTSBURGH --Tens of thousands of people rediscovered the reliability and convenience of payphones during the blackout in the Northeast last week. And now it's back-to-school-and-college time, when calling home resumes its ritual role in family life. So, this is the perfect opportunity for Verizon to help stimulate payphone usage by launching an advertising campaign here for the company's reduced-rate collect and credit card access number.
"It pays to advertise," said Paul V. Francischetti, vice president of marketing and business development for Verizon Public Communications Group. "As their performance during the blackout demonstrated, payphones are a still a staple of American life, and they continue to be a reliable friend to people on the go. Our goal is to keep our payphone business vibrant and to keep payphones available where and when people choose to use them."
For nearly a year, Verizon has had its own number to dial for collect, credit card and third-party-billed calls, 1-800-USE THE VZ. Customers who use it pay approximately 20 percent less per interstate long-distance call and 10 percent less per regional toll call than with competing services like 1-800-COLLECT and 1-800-CALL-ATT.
"The new service is boosting our payphone usage," Francischetti said, "and it's part of our overall plan to draw customers back by adding calling features to our payphones that make them easy and economical to use."
A series of light-hearted radio and outdoor ads currently being aired by Verizon this month in Pittsburgh feature things young people do that are acceptable (living on nothing but pizza, potato chips, cola and caffeine -- and using 1-800-USE-THE VZ) or unacceptable (using a competitor's service to make collect calls).
Verizon has taken other steps to stimulate payphone usage, making it easy and economical to call overseas by using phones with yellow handsets. At these sites, a partner company, Phone1, delivers calls to more than 200 countries for 25 cents to $1 for the first minute and $1 for one to 10 additional minutes. The service is targeted to international visitors, immigrants and callers looking for a bargain rate on quick overseas calls.
The company maintains more than 330,000 payphones in 38 states.
A Fortune 10 company, 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 137.6 million access line equivalents and 34.6 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 14.6 million long-distance lines, and the company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. With approximately $67 billion in annual revenues and 221,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.