Baltimore cellular customers to be first with verbal caller ID

November 16, 1993|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,Staff Writer

Baltimore cellular customers will become the first in the nation to try out a new technology that will let portable phones announce verbally who is calling and give the customer the option of accepting or rerouting the call.

GTE Telecommunication Services technology and Bell Atlantic Mobile (BAM) said yesterday that they will begin their test of GTE's Spoken Caller Identification service in February. Baltimore was chosen as the first site because Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. of Maryland's advanced switching system will let cellular customers keep their own numbers, said BAM spokeswoman Karen Ann Kurlander.

According to BAM, one advantage of the technology is that it will letcustomers who are driving screen calls without having to take their eyes off the road. The technology will also let the customer program the phone so that calls from one number go through automatically, while those from another are shunted to voice mail or another number.

Another feature of the service would give customers a spoken list of unanswered calls by number or recorded name. Users could then call back numbers from that list with a simple redial command.

The new GTE technology has some distinct limitations. It works only in the Washington-Baltimore area and when receiving calls from Baltimore-area land lines.

Calls will be announced by a computer-generated voice only in the form of the telephone number until the customer records the name of the caller who uses that number.

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