Cell Phone Messaging: Latest Trend In Wireless Growing In Popularity

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ORANGEBURG, NY — It's the next big thing in wireless communications and it promises to be a hit from the boardroom to the game room.

It's two-way text messaging--the marriage of the cell phone and the pager. And, if its success in Europe and Asia is an indication of how Americans will take to text messaging, it's about to become wildly popular throughout the country.

The new service, available nationwide from Verizon Wireless, offers a super-fast, discreet way to keep in touch with colleagues, family and friends using a wireless phone. Called Mobile Messenger SM, it's the perfect way to send and receive short, readable messages on a wireless phone when you need to reach someone, or a group of people, quickly and easily at meetings, restaurants, on trains and buses, or wherever they are. Also, customers can exchange messages with other wireless carriers' customers, and whether it's RNG L8 or LUV U, the message is delivered in less than 30 seconds more than 90 percent of the time.

"Customers can stretch their monthly bucket of wireless minutes by using text messaging because messages don't use up airtime," said Charles Hand, president of Verizon Wireless' New York Metro Region. "For business customers, that's a cost-effective extra. Customers are seeing the value of using their wireless phone for both voice and text."

Hand said the service also appeals to consumers, especially teens and young adults who are among the 70 million people in the U.S. already familiar with messaging from their home computers. "For young people, this is 'instant messaging to go', which gives them the ability to stay in touch with friends wherever they are."

Text messaging has become immensely popular in Europe and Asia during the past few years. In England, for example, 38 million text messages are sent each day. In fact, one of the best selling books in the United Kingdom last year was a guidebook for texters explaining the abbreviated messages and symbols commonly used. In Germany, text messaging provides a lifeline for hearing impaired people who now can enjoy the convenience and mobility wireless phones offer. Industry analysts predict that wireless messaging users will grow to 15 million by 2004, up from 1.4 million in last year.

With Verizon Wireless Mobile Messenger, messages can be sent from a two-way messaging-capable handset to another handset or to any Internet e-mail address. Messages also can be sent to a digital phone from the company's text messaging Web site, http://www.vtext.com.

For messaging enthusiasts, the company offers three package options: $2.99/month for 100 messages sent or received, $3.99/month for 200 messages, and $7.99/month for 600 messages. Additional messages cost just 10 cents to send, and two costs to receive. Or, any Verizon Wireless customer with a messaging capable handset can simply pay as they go (10 cents per message sent, two cents per message received. Mobile Messenger is available with all digital price plans, including [FREEUP], the company's prepaid service.

For more information about Mobile Messenger two-way short text messaging, text messaging enabled handsets or messaging phrases and emoticons, visit http://www.free2tlk.com or call 1-800-779-5613.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 30 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.

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