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NEW YORK - Consumers in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont no longer need to wonder who's calling when they hear the Call Waiting beep on their phone line. With Verizon's new Talking Call Waiting service, they'll also hear the name of the caller.
"Talking Call Waiting is another tool our customers can use to manage their calls, their time and their lives," said Anne Kraus-Keenan, Verizon's group manager of new product development. "Like Caller ID, Talking Call Waiting takes the mystery out of who's calling."
The service is already available to Verizon customers in the New York City area, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Verizon plans to offer the service to several additional markets in the coming months.
"With Talking Call Waiting, customers can decide who they'll talk to and when, letting them decide between business calls and social calls, urgent calls or leisure calls, customer calls or supplier calls," Kraus-Keenan said.
The monthly charge for Talking Call Waiting varies by state, ranging from $5.75 to $7.50. The cost includes basic Call Waiting service. Customers can get the service for as low as $2 a month when purchased with several service packages. The service does not require any additional equipment.
Verizon's advanced network provides Talking Call Waiting by using information about the originating number that is needed to set up calls. That information also is used by the network to enable other features like Caller ID, *69 and Call Trace.
Talking Call Waiting and Verizon's basic Call Waiting services use Lucent Technologies' Compact Service Node hardware and software. With the new service, the name of the caller is retrieved from a Verizon database by the network switch and sent in text format to the Lucent service node for text-to-speech conversion. After the Call Waiting tone, the Talking Call Waiting subscriber hears the name of the caller. Subscribers can decide whether to interrupt their current call to take the incoming call.
According to Kraus-Keenan, the new service also will be valuable to customers who are visually impaired or physically disabled. These consumers are not able to use Caller ID because they cannot see or get to the display box to read the incoming caller's number.
To sample the Talking Call Waiting message, click on the options below:
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 133.8 million access line equivalents and approximately 29.6 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and nearly 248,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.