Bedminster, NJ — Taking a stand on behalf of consumers who want the accessibility of wireless communications, but also advanced "hands-free" safety features, Bell Atlantic Mobile today announced a broad program that encourages the use of new technologies to make using wireless communications in a car easier and ultimately safer. Bell Atlantic Mobile today made a commitment to only sell wireless phones that are adaptable for hands-free capabilities.
The company also told manufacturers that future phones it sells must have a "universal jack," giving customers more and cheaper options for hands-free accessories. In an industry-leading move, the company also will require its handset suppliers to produce wireless phones with voice-activated dialing and two-way speakerphone capabilities within two years so that users can dial calls without pressing any buttons. In another move to offer products and services that make hands-free cellular use available and affordable to all consumers, Bell Atlantic Mobile announced:
- Affordable hands-free: Beginning Feb. 1, the company will reduce the price on many of its hands-free accessories.
Consumers can choose from a variety of hands-free devices, from headsets to installation kits, to purchase, starting at $14.99. The company also offers TalkDial (sm), a voice-activated dialing option that requires pressing only two buttons to dial.
- Safety Emphasis: By March, the company's Communications Stores will feature a separate accessory wall titled "Accessories with Safety in Mind," further emphasizing the availability and benefits of hands-free communication.
- Free Shipping: Customers across the U.S. can shop on Bell Atlantic Mobile's Online Store (www.bam.com) for a wide range of wireless accessories, including hands-free car kits, headsets and ear pieces - all free of shipping charges. Customers also can visit one of Bell Atlantic Mobile's 250 Communications Store to explore and demonstrate hands-free options.
- Safety Reminders: Moving forward, the company will more prominently feature safety reminders in customer communications, like bill inserts and advertising, and the company's web site.
As a participant in the annual Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) National Cellular Safety Week, Bell Atlantic Mobile has a longstanding commitment to educating customers about the safe use of wireless phones while driving, reminding them of the following:
Tips for Driving Safely with Your Wireless Phone:
· When behind the wheel, safe driving is always your first responsibility.
· Always use hands-free when driving and talking;. When you turn your phone on, put on/turn on your hands-free device.
· Pre-program important and frequently-dialed numbers, including home, the babysitter, and 9-1-1, so you can dial them by pressing only a few buttons.
· Never take notes or write down phone numbers while driving. Rather, pull off the road to a safe spot or leave yourself a message on your voice mail system.
· Know your wireless phone number so emergency personnel can call you back. You may want to write it down and keep it in your car for quick reference.
· If traffic conditions warrant your undivided attention, turn your phone off, and let calls go to Voice Mail or activate Call Forwarding.
"Bell Atlantic Mobile has long been a proponent of technologies that improve the utility and mobility of wireless communications, as well as the safety of our customers," said Jack Plating, the company's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "Now, as we continue to see our customers rely on wireless as their primary means of staying in touch - especially when they're on the road - we are committed to enhance our offerings that make using wireless while behind the wheel easier and ultimately safer."
Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East and the largest chain of retail outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data and paging. Based in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has 7.7 million customers and 8,800 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, Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE:BEL) 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.