BEDMINSTER, NJ — Starting today, consumers can shop for wireless from the convenience of their personal computer, as Bell Atlantic Mobile becomes the first wireless service provider to open a fully automated "store" on its Web site. By visiting the Bell Atlantic Mobile Online Store at http://www.bam.com. and following a few easy steps, consumers can order and complete the purchase of wireless service, cellular phones and accessories that fit their needs.
The entire purchase process -- from credit authorization to activation -- is completed online, in real time. A shopping "spree" can be completed in five minutes, if the customer knows from the start which products and services he or she wants.
"Our Online Store is all about giving customers a choice for purchasing our wireless products and services using a fast, easy-to-use, information-rich medium," said Debra Carroll, Bell Atlantic Mobile vice president of marketing. "Just as we offer choices in wireless service plans, we also give our customers a wide choice in how and where to do business with us. As Internet commerce becomes increasingly popular with consumers, our Internet store will become a key sales channel in the years to come."
Bell Atlantic Mobile's Online Store is an electronic one-stop shopping experience. Orders are processed immediately and shipped that day. Other carriers' on-line stores only collect customer information and require follow-up from a live salesperson to complete the order. Shipping and handling are free and orders will arrive within three business days.
The Online Store sells a range of wireless products and services meeting the varying needs of wireless users -- including the new DigitalChoice SingleRateSM plans unveiled last week. The store also sells wireless accessories, including car lighter adapters, battery chargers, extra batteries and phone carrying cases.
Much like the sites of popular consumer retailers, Bell Atlantic Mobile's Online Store is designed to be a comfortable experience for both the seasoned Web-shopper and the occasional browser. Products and price plans are clearly merchandized and displayed, and can be placed in a shopping cart as the shopper moves through the store. There's also "Tips on Choosing," so shoppers can explore their own unique usage needs and compare plans.
The Online Store also gives the customer a choice about how much information they want. At any time, the customer can click to any of the following locations for more information:
Bell Atlantic Mobile Home Page -- information on Bell Atlantic Mobile service area, products and services, and customer service.
Online Store Map -- an overview of the Store "aisles."
Shopping Cart -- a review of the customer's order at any time during the process.
Contact Us -- telephone contact number, feedback section and a link to the Bell Atlantic Mobile Home Page to find the nearest Communications Store.
Disclosure -- Access to Bell Atlantic Mobile privacy statement, and explanation of rates and charges.
Cellular Service Agreement -- the company's plain-language service agreement.
90-day Right-Price Plan Guarantee
Bell Atlantic Mobile offers a free Service Plan Analysis to ensure its customers are on the best service plan for their wireless phone usage. After three months of service, the customer can call Bell Atlantic Mobile and the company will analyze the customer's usage patterns to date. If it is less expensive for the customer to be on a different service plan, the company will switch them to a plan that better matches their usage.
To ensure customer security, the Online Store uses a secure connection to transmit customer information, including their address, email address and credit card number, providing private secured communication between the browser and Bell Atlantic Mobile's Web server. When the customer starts the purchase process, Bell Atlantic Mobile sets up a secure connection using SSL (Secure Socket Layer), a widely-used mechanism by electronic commerce Web sites.
Bell Atlantic Mobile has long been a leader in low-cost distribution within the wireless industry. Its nearly-200 store chain is the largest network of wireless-only retail outlets, and rivals the number of stores of some other large retailers.
Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East, covering 116,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data and paging. Based in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has 5.7 million customers and 7,000 employees from Maine to Georgia and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. Through its "Wireless at Work..." community service program, the company uses its technology to help individuals and communities improve security and emergency communications. Bell Atlantic Mobile's parent is one of the world's largest wireless communications companies, with domestic operations in 25 states and international investments in Mexico, Europe and the Pacific Rim. For more information on Bell Atlantic Mobile visit: www.bam.com; for global operations visit: http://www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide