Verizon's Press Release on New, Overpriced, Limited VoIP

What's ironic about this announcement, besides the fact that this new limited minutes plan is priced higher than competitive plans by companies such as VoicePulse and BroadVoice, is that the announcement has a dateline of Muskegon, Mich. That's not unusual because Verizon's state headquarters are in Muskegon. But what is ironic is that you can't get a Muskegon number with Verizon's VoIP service. In fact, if you read the list of area codes in which numbers are offered, neither 231 (northwest Lower Peninsula, including Muskegon and several other Verizon exchanges) nor 269 (Southwest lower Michigan, which also has many Verizon exchanges) are on that list. Could it be that Verizon doesn't want their own ILEC customers buying their VoIP service?

But no matter, other companies including the two I mentioned above have numbers in many of these Verizon exchanges, and their similar offerings are less expensive and they offer more features. Furthermore, though I have no proof of this one way or another, it would not surprise me if, because Verizon is a traditional telco, they tack on a few of the extra fees that are so prominent in the traditional telephone industry. Personally I see nothing at all in this announcement that would motivate me to pick Verizon's offering over that of another company (and I would make that same comment about AOL's similarly-overpriced service, also announced today).

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Verizon Brings VoiceWing Internet-Based Calling to Michigan for as Low as $19.95 a Month
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VoiceWing Costs Less Than Traditional Phone Service and Harnesses the Power of the Internet to Provide Unique Calling Features

MUSKEGON, Mich., April 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Residents of Michigan now have a new low-cost, feature-rich option for telephone service with VoiceWing, an Internet-based calling service from Verizon. One VoiceWing calling plan just introduced today gives customers 500 minutes of outbound local and domestic long-distance for just $19.95 a month. An unlimited local and long-distance plan is also available for as low as $29.95 a month.

VoiceWing customers use a small telephone adapter provided by Verizon to connect their own telephones to their home high-speed Internet connections. The telephone adapter allows the VoiceWing customer to send and receive calls over the Internet instead of using a standard phone line. The service works with both DSL and cable modem broadband connections and allows subscribers to call anyone, anywhere, worldwide.

"VoiceWing lets you use something familiar -- your own home phone and broadband connection -- to save money and communicate in exciting new ways," said Michelle Swittenberg, executive director for Verizon's consumer VoIP services. "It's like having a customized, portable telephone service and personal assistant rolled into one."

The service is offered nationally, and subscribers, regardless of where they live, can choose from 167 area codes, including the 248,

313, 517, 586, 616, 734 and 810 codes in Michigan. Customers can take VoiceWing with them by using their adapter to make and receive calls anywhere there is a DSL or cable modem high-speed Internet connection. Subscribers can also purchase up to five additional telephone numbers with their choice of area codes to use on their VoiceWing service for incoming calls. "This is very convenient for calling with out-of-town friends and family," said Swittenberg.

"For example, if you live in Michigan and your mother lives in Atlanta, you can purchase an additional incoming number with your mother's 404 area code. Now every call mom makes to you is a local call for her." Both VoiceWing calling plans include faxing capabilities; calls to Puerto Rico and other U.S. Territories; a

30-day money-back guarantee; and low per-minute international calling rates, including 1 cent per minute to Canada, 3 cents per minute to the United Kingdom and 6-to-11 cents per minute to various locations in Mexico.

All VoiceWing subscribers can make unlimited calls to other VoiceWing subscribers at no additional charge. Both VoiceWing plans also include an extensive roster of advanced calling features that can be conveniently controlled through an online personal account manager that is accessible from any Internet-enabled computer. These advanced calling features include:

  • Call Logs with Click to Dial: A list of all incoming, outgoing and missed calls for three days, including name, telephone number, date, time of day, physical location and duration of the call. Customers can click on calls to have VoiceWing dial them, or to easily add the caller's information to the customer's address book.
  • Visual Voice Mail: Customers can see their voice mails online, listen by clicking on them and click a Forward button to send the audio message by e-mail to as many recipients as the customer would like.
  • Enhanced Call Forwarding: Schedule call forwarding ahead of time for a specific date and time of day, or as a recurring event. Customers can quickly re-direct calls to another phone directly from their personal account manager. E-mail alerts will remind customers of when a scheduled call-forward is about to take place.
  • Scheduled Callbacks: Schedule important calls in advance online. Customers' phones will ring at the appointed time, and they will then be connected to the call.
  • Synchronized Personal Address Book: Customers can save telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of people who have called, arrange contacts in convenient groups, click on a phone number to dial it, or send an e-mail directly from their account manager. Only Verizon eliminates the hassle of creating and maintaining multiple address books by synchronizing customers' VoiceWing address books with a variety of other PC and PDA address books.
  • Do Not Disturb: Sends all calls straight to voice mail and only allows the important ones through. Customers can designate up to 20 phone numbers to go through.
  • Simultaneous Ring: Customers can designate up to three phone numbers where they'd like calls to ring in addition to their VoiceWing phone number. The first phone answered will be connected to the call.
  • Back-up Number: Customers can designate another phone, such as their cell phone or office phone, where their VoiceWing calls can be automatically routed in case of a power failure or broadband outage.
  • Incoming Call Block: Allows customers to block up to 20 telephone numbers and send the calls directly to voice mail. Customers can easily add or remove numbers they want blocked either through their online account manager or by entering a code on their telephone handset.
  • Anonymous Call Rejection: Allows customers to refuse calls from parties who have blocked or restricted their Caller ID information and to send these calls directly to voice mail.
  • Permanent Caller ID Block: Gives VoiceWing customers total control over who sees their Caller ID information whenever they make an outbound call. By simply setting up Caller ID Block online, all calls are anonymous until the VoiceWing customer disables the feature.

To learn about even more VoiceWing calling features, customers can visit

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and select "Calling Features" from the menu. Customers can also order service at this Web site. If they do, they get their first month of service free.

With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 210,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom serves customers based in 29 states with wireline telecommunications services, including broadband and other services. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving

43.8 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit
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VERIZON'S ONLINE NEWS CENTER: Verizon news releases, executive speeches and biographies, media contacts, high quality video and images, and other information are available at Verizon's News Center on the World Wide Web at
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To receive news releases by e-mail, visit the News Center and register for customized automatic delivery of Verizon news releases.

SOURCE Verizon Web Site:

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Jack Decker
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