Single-number phone service planned

March 17, 1992|By Leslie Cauley | Leslie Cauley,Staff Writer

If you're one of those people who has at least three different phone numbers listed on your business card, Bell Atlantic Mobile Systems has what you want: a one-person, one-number service.

The new service, which has not yet been named, will permit callers to reach subscribers no matter where they are -- on the road, in the office or at home -- by dialing a single number. It marks the first time that one-person, one-number dialing has been offered in the East.

The Bell Atlantic service, which is expected to be available by June, will cost $15 to $25 a month, making it by far the most expensive enhancement available in the Bell Atlantic stable of cellular services. The service will allow customers to use one telephone number for as many types of services as they want -- pagers as well as cellular, home and office phones.

Other enhanced services, such as call-waiting and call-forwarding, generally cost $6 or less a month.

But Bell Atlantic Mobile is banking that the steep rate won't put off business customers who don't like having to constantly reel off multiple telephone numbers.

"This way, you never have to worry about where you're going to be at any given time, because the system will know where to send calls no matter where you are," said Karen Ann Kurlander, a spokeswoman for Bell Atlantic Mobile, the cellular arm of Bell Atlantic Corp.

Herschel Shosteck, a cellular-technology analyst in Silver Spring, said the steep price would likely keep all but the most hard-core users away. He estimated that only 2 percent to 3 percent of Bell Atlantic's customers would sign up for the new service.

The service is being offered as a result of a licensing agreement between Bell Atlantic Mobile and AccessPlus Communications Inc. of Bellevue, Wash., a computer software company that developed the technology that makes one-person, one-number dialing possible.

McCaw Cellular, a national provider of cellular phone services, announced licensing of an older version of that technology last year.

The next generation of that technology is now available, and will be used by Bell Atlantic -- and eventually by McCaw -- for one-person, one-number dialing, said Daniel Kranzler, president and chief executive officer of AccessPlus.

Mr. Kranzler said the newest version of the technology offers more flexibility to phone companies and their customers. Three Canadian phone companies also announced plans yesterday to use the technology in their regions.

Mr. Kranzler said his company is already busy developing the next generation of its technology, which he said should be ready for the commercial market by next year. He said it would allow telephone companies to offer one-person, one-number services to the home market at competitive prices.

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