Getting the caller to pay Cellular phones

New technology aims to reverse the charges

November 04, 1995|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF

Bell Atlantic Corp. has developed a technology that lets cellular phone users avoid having to pay when an unknown or unwanted caller dials their number.

The company announced this week that its new service, "Calling Party Pays," lets cellular companies give customers the ability to structure their accounts so that the burden of payment falls on the caller -- just as it does with most wire-line calls.

Unlike wire-line calls, the costs of completing a local call from a land line to a cellular phone are borne by the receiving party.

Bell Atlantic said its highly computerized "Advanced Intelligent Network" allows it to screen calls going to cellular phone numbers to determine the customers' billing preferences. It would also let cellular customers tailor their service to their needs in a variety of ways.

If a customer chooses the Calling Party Pays option, callers from unfamiliar numbers will receive a voice message notifying them that the call can go through only at their own expense. Callers also can choose the option of leaving a message in a voice mail box.

Bell Atlantic said the technology also lets customers assign a VIP number to certain callers -- such as important clients -- that lets them call at the customer's expense. A customer will also be able to exempt up to six numbers from the caller-pays system.

The service is a software technology being marketed to cellular companies by Bell Atlantic's carrier services. The company plans to sell the service to Bell Atlantic Nynex's competitors, such as Cellular One in the mid-Atlantic states.

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