BEDMINSTER, NJ — Beginning tomorrow, business and consumer digital customers alike will be able to enjoy the benefits of single rate pricing with no roaming or long distance charges. By bringing single rate benefits to the consumer, Bell Atlantic Mobile is reaching a customer segment largely ignored by current all-inclusive wireless pricing.
With pricing as low as 10 cents a minute, DigitalChoice SingleRateSM USA gives Bell Atlantic Mobile's most mobile and talkative customers 1600 minutes with no long distance and roaming charges for calls to and from anywhere in the United States for $159.99 monthly access.
Bell Atlantic Mobile's DigitalChoice SingleRateSM East plans embrace the consumer by eliminating the high cost of entry, with monthly access pricing starting at $39.99 a month. DigitalChoice SingleRate East customers will enjoy the advantages of no roaming or long distance charges for calls made from within Bell Atlantic Mobile's extensive East Coast footprint.
"Our customers already receive and expect value for their wireless dollar. They shouldn't have to pay a premium for added simplicity," said Denny Strigl, Group President and CEO of Bell Atlantic Global Wireless. "With DigitalChoice SingleRate USA prices as low as ten cents a minute, we certainly offer the best high end plan in the industry. Plus, we offer light and moderate use consumers a chance to get in the game for as little as $40."
Customers Choose Between East Coast or USA As Home Area
Bell Atlantic Mobile's DigitalChoice SingleRate East plans were designed to fit customer calling patterns. Industry-wide, only 6 percent of all wireless customers use more than 300 minutes a month, and with 60 percent of Bell Atlantic Mobile's roaming traffic right in its East Coast footprint, SingleRate East is a very attractive plan for the majority of wireless users.
"Our customers won't pay for more than they need," added Strigl. "There's a plan for every user -- whether they talk a little or talk a lot. This gives added meaning to the 'choice' in DigitalChoice." The SingleRate Plans take advantage of Bell Atlantic Mobile's extensive East Coast footprint because it includes the heavily traveled, communications-intensive corridor from Boston to Washington, DC. For customers who choose DigitalChoice SingleRate East, the plans literally expand the area from which they can make calls for a single rate from a large metropolitan region to virtually every major city on the East Coast.
"Clearly, Bell Atlantic Mobile is the only carrier positioned to offer this type of plan because our network encompasses 116,000 square miles on the East Coast," said Strigl. "And due to our aggressive digital build out, greater than 85 percent of people living in our territory are covered by DigitalChoice service."
All Bell Atlantic Mobile SingleRate East plans also include the first incoming minute free when calling from within its East Coast footprint.
Bell Atlantic Mobile's current DigitalChoice customers can switch to the new plans without purchasing a new handset, and new customers need not purchase a specific digital handset to take advantage of the new packages.
Internet Store: a First in One-Stop Electronic Shopping for Wireless
Bell Atlantic Mobile will also change the way consumers shop for and buy wireless service -- including DigitalChoice SingleRate -- with the debut of its On-Line Communications Store later this month. Bell Atlantic Mobile is the only wireless provider to give customers the ability to complete an entire order for cellular service, equipment and accessories right on-line.
Bell Atlantic Mobile's On-Line Store is an electronic one-stop shopping experience, so there's no waiting for a call back from telemarketing. 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.
Much like the sites of popular consumer retailers, Bell Atlantic Mobile's electronic store is designed to be a comfortable experience for both the seasoned web-shopper and the occasional browser. The company's products and price plans are clearly merchandized and displayed, and can be placed in a shopping cart as the shopper moves through the store.
The company has long been a trendsetter in 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. The addition of electronic commerce to Bell Atlantic Mobile's distribution channels is a benefit to both customers and the company. While customers benefit from the convenience of a simple purchase experience, the company will benefit from the low-cost and broad reach of distributing its products and services via the Internet.
"We give our customers a choice of how they want to do business with us. We've gone to great lengths to give our customers an on-line shopping experience that's as good or better than any other retail site. Our store's easy to navigate and easy to understand, and gives the customer the ability to choose how much information they want about our products, pricing plans, and accessories," said Strigl.
Bell Atlantic Mobile's on-line store will be located at _ HYPERLINK http://www.bam.com __www.bam.com_.
(See separate chart for DigitalChoice SingleRate pricing detail.)
The following industry analysts have been briefed and are available for comment:
Bob Egan/The Gartner Group - 401-769-3828
Darryl Sterling/Yankee Group - 617-956-5000
Herschel Shosteck Associates - 301-589-2259
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: www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide.
Bell Atlantic Mobile's New DigitalChoice SingleRateSM Pricing
SingleRate East Plans SingleRate USA Plan Access $39.99 $59.99 $99.99 $159.99 Allowance Range* 60-100 150-250 800 1600 Rate/Min Range* $0.25-$0.59 $0.20-$0.30 $0.20 $0.20 Home Footprint (Bell Atlantic Mobile's East Coast Footprint) National Long Distance Charges In Home Area? No No No No Roaming Charges In Home Area? No No No No * Varies by region.