Unified Communications lets consumers, small businesses
use Web portal or phones to manage messages from multiple sources
Service is latest milestone in IP strategy; bundled with unlimited calling plans
MILWAUKEE, Oct. 4, 2004 – Consumers and small businesses today have a powerful new tool to help them better manage and more easily access their proliferating wireline and wireless voice mailboxes,
e-mail accounts and faxes.
SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) today announced SBC Unified CommunicationsSM, a new service that harnesses the power of IP (Internet Protocol) to enable customers to gather all of their message services into one easy-to-use system. Rather than check multiple places for messages, customers with Unified Communications can take control of multiple message sources by accessing them through a single gateway.
The new service is a milestone in the company’s emergence as a leader in IP technology. SBC Unified Communications is the first product of its kind available from a major telecommunications provider, giving customers greater control over their communications and increasing personal and business productivity. Voice messages, faxes and e-mails are integrated into a common mailbox, allowing consumers and small businesses to retrieve, forward and reply to messages via phone, or online – much like they handle e-mail today. The integrated message mailbox is accessible anywhere Internet access is available or via any phone.
The innovative service, available today in major cities throughout the SBC service territory, is now the flagship messaging service, available as a standalone service or in bundles of SBC residential services, including the popular All Distance® unlimited local and long distance calling bundle.
“With Unified Communications, we’re leveraging the power of IP to add new features and benefits to our already world-class voice products and delivering seamless connections that enhance our customers’ communications whether they’re at home, work, school, or on the road,” said Ray Wilkins, president, SBC marketing and sales.
SBC companies are committed to leading the industry in IP technologies. The company also unveiled in June plans to build a next-generation fiber optic-based network – pending regulatory clarity and successful completion of market trials – that would enable integrated digital TV, full-featured VoIP services, and super-high-speed broadband services for consumers and small business.
With Unified Communications, subscribers will no longer have to miss important messages or spend valuable time checking multiple mailboxes. Unified Communications gathers different types of messages in one place and makes them accessible from any place the customer happens to be. Additionally, Unified Communications offers the following features:
· Cingular Wireless integration. Unified Communications completely integrates with Cingular Wireless, so customers can access wireless messages from the same portal as landline, e-mail, and fax messages.
· Integrated message center. Unified Communications’ integrated message center allows subscribers to view wireless and wireline voice-mails, e-mail, and fax subject lines all in one inbox. Unified Communications uses an e-mail-like interface, allowing for prioritization of messages and better organization.
· Here, there, anywhere. The latest text-to-speech technology reads e-mails over the phone. Users can listen to voice-mails over their computers (which also allows for prioritization of voice-mails). Customers can “untie” from the fax machine by checking fax message headers from the phone, and view and print them through the computer.
· Message indicators. When customers receive a new e-mail, voice-mail or fax, a message indicator alert can be sent to their online mailbox, and wireless and wireline phones (if the customer activates the message indicator alerts). Once messages are checked on one device, the message indicators on the others are updated in real time.
· Pager notification. For customers who want to be notified immediately about incoming messages, they can activate the pager function, which sends a notification of a new message to their pagers or wireless phones.
· Online storage. Unified Communications comes with 50 MB of storage for consumers and 100 MB for businesses, and customers can purchase up to 150 MB of additional storage space in 50 MB increments.
· Separate mailboxes. Users can establish four shared Unified Communications mailboxes under one platform, allowing business colleagues and families to keep their messages separate, each owning a mailbox with separate security codes.
· Distribution lists. Customers can establish as many as 15 distribution lists, each with up to 25 entries. These entries can be telephone numbers or e-mail addresses.
Residential subscribers to the All Distance service, which provides unlimited direct-dial domestic voice long distance and local calling, can replace the standard voice-mail service with SBC Unified Communications for an additional $3 per month, for a total of $51.95 per month. Pricing for SBC Unified Communications for residential customers when purchased as an a la carte voice messaging service in California and Nevada is $10.95 per month, and $12.95 per month in other SBC states.
For residential customers without Cingular Wireless service, SBC companies offer SBC Unified Communications LiteSM, a service that incorporates all the features of the standard service, except wireless integration. Pricing for Unified Communications Lite is $1 when purchased with an All Distance package, or for residential customers, when purchased a la carte, the price ranges from $7.95 to $10.95 per month depending on the state.
And, both Unified Communications services are available as a “bolt on” service to popular small business bundles, including Business Unlimited.
SBC Family of IP Services
Unified Communications is the latest addition to the company’s rapidly growing portfolio of IP services. IP, the basic language of the Internet, is capable of carrying voice, data and video over a single network infrastructure. SBC companies are taking advantage of this IP-enabled convergence to offer consumers and businesses compelling features and values that previously weren’t possible.
SBC companies will continue to enhance the Unified Communications product with features such as an integrated personal address book shared among wireline, wireless, and computers – eliminating the need to keep three separate lists of contacts.
SBC companies already are leaders in business IP services, first introduced to business customers in 1996. Since then, SBC companies have continually introduced new IP services for businesses, including VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), and today offer a wide range of innovative solutions designed to meet the needs of almost any enterprise, large or small.
SBC companies have offered CPE-based VoIP services for businesses since 1999 and in Novembers 2003 unveiled an innovative new hosted or network-managed VoIP product called SBC PremierSERVSM Hosted IP Communication Service (HIPCS). The hosted VoIP service combines customized productivity features such as a single inbox for voice and e-mail messages and “find me, follow me” call routing options, along with traditional voice services, delivered through a Web browser-based interface. Telecommunications Magazine identified SBC companies as a clear leader in hosted VoIP in the publication’s April 2004 “10 hottest technologies for 2004” article.
For more information or to order Unified Communications, customers can visit www.sbcuc.net or call 800.244.444 (residential) / 800.660.3000 (business).
SBC Communications Inc. is a Fortune 50 company whose subsidiaries, operating under the SBC brand, provide a full range of voice, data, networking, e-business, directory publishing and advertising, and related services to businesses, consumers and other telecommunications providers. SBC holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which serves 25 million wireless customers. SBC companies provide high-speed DSL Internet access lines to more American consumers than any other provider and are among the nation’s leading providers of Internet services. SBC companies also now offer satellite TV service. Additional information about SBC and SBC products and services is available at www.sbc.com.
Unified Communications is provided by SBC Messaging, provided subject to written terms and conditions. PC minimum system requirements and additional limitations and restrictions apply. Prices subject to change and do not include other applicable charges (e.g., taxes and surcharges) which may vary by location. Unified Communications services are not available in all areas or on all classes of service. If your local service is billed on a per-call or per-minute basis, you will be charged for all local calls associated with the use of your Voice Messaging service. You will be charged for a local call every time you retrieve a message or otherwise access your mailbox using your local telephone number. You will also be charged for a local call every time a caller leaves or attempts to leave you a message. For customers on calling plans, calls will be counted against your monthly allowance. If you access your mailbox from outside your local calling area, you will incur applicable local toll or long distance charges.
SBC PremierSERV HIPCS is provided by SBC IP Communications Inc.