GREENVILLE, SC — The number of Carolina customers choosing Bell Atlantic Mobile's text messaging service has tripled since its February introduction, according to Jerry Fountain, vice president of Bell Atlantic Mobile's Southeast region. "Our customers are obviously seeing the value in receiving short email-like messages on their digital phones, " Fountain said. "Customers are using this service to simplify communications with work and family. With text messaging and a digital phone, many of our customers can eliminate carrying a pager." Choosing from three text messaging options - Internet, PC-based software and operator dispatch, Bell Atlantic Mobile DigitalChoice® customers subscribing to this service can have time-sensitive messages displayed on their digital phone screens anywhere in the company's Southeast digital coverage area. "Text messaging lets our Bell Atlantic Mobile customers in North Carolina and South Carolina receive short messages - like meeting reminders and schedule changes - speeding up communications and improving productivity," said Fountain. "Text messaging is the next logical step in wireless phone technology, taking advantage of our company's superior wireless network and increasingly sophisticated handsets."
For $5.99 a month, customers choosing the Internet text messaging option can receive messages up to 120 characters in length from senders using email or Bell Atlantic Mobile's web site at www.bam.com, without using any of the allotted minutes provided under their DigitalChoice price plan. Text messages include a time and date stamp and are stored for up to two weeks. If a message is sent to a wireless phone while it's engaged in a call, outside the digital coverage area or turned off, the message is stored and the user is notified when they complete their call, return to the digital coverage area or turn on the phone. Bell Atlantic Mobile also offers text messaging PC-based software that broadcasts messages up to 500 characters in length to customized group distribution lists via personal computer. The cost of this option, which includes Internet text messaging, is a one-time $24.99 software purchase and $9.99 a month for each digital phone user receiving messages. The software also features delivery confirmation and an expanded address book for an unlimited number of text messaging addresses. Bell Atlantic Mobile also offers an operator dispatch option, which includes Internet text messaging, for $19.99 a month. This service provides toll-free access to a live operator 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, who transmits text messages up to 600 characters in length directly to the customer's digital wireless phone, where they can be stored up to 30 days. "With these three options - Internet, PC-based software and operator dispatch - text messaging can be used by wireless customers with a wide variety of needs," said Fountain. "But all receive the benefits of immediate visual messages while on the road or away from the home or office."
Editor's Note: Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East, covering 120,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data and paging. Based in Bedminster, N.J., Bell Atlantic Mobile has 6.4 million customers and 8,000 employees from Maine to Georgia, and through a 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; on global operations visit: www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide.