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Telecom World-First Step Towards Unified Messaging

Telecom In World-First Step Towards Unified Messaging

Telecom has announced a world-first step towards offering New Zealand residential customers the unified messaging services it now provides its largest corporate customers.

Unified messaging is the ability to receive all messages - email, land-line, mobile and fax – from the same source and has been used by a small number of Telecom’s leading corporate customers for the past 18 months. It enables executives to retrieve all forms of telecommunications across their PC – fax and email in text form, mobile and land-line calls in audio.

Telecom has announced it is making the first step towards offering the same opportunity for residential customers and small business by launching Call Connect and Message Connect.

Call Connect and Message Connect simplify message retrieval by enabling people to access their Telecom landline and mobile phone messages from the same mailbox. Call Connect is designed for personal use, while Message Connect is tailored for the more complex requirements of business – for example multiple users.

Telecom is now undertaking research into the demand that exists among residential customers for a fully unified messaging service, covering email and fax as well.

Telecom General Manager Marketing, Kevin Kenrick, said Telecom’s move was believed to be the first time a telecommunications company has linked the messaging services of landlines and mobile phones for general use.

“With more than a million mobile customers on the 025 network and with around a third of New Zealand residential customers using Call Minder, Telecom is in a great position to bring the messaging components of mobile and land-line together.

“Our most recent research shows that around 50 percent of cellular customers are either interested or extremely interested in such a service, based on the degree that it would simplify their lives. Its time has very much come.”

Telecom pioneered Call Waiting in New Zealand in 1989 and introduced Call Minder in 1990. Now 350,000 New Zealand homes have call minder.

Mr Kenrick said the innovation also reflected New Zealanders’ reputation for remarkably fast uptake of new technology and the fact that few telecommunications companies worldwide have a complete mobile and land-line service, like Telecom’s.

He said the current research into unified messaging would determine the timing of Telecom’s introduction of complete unified messaging for residential and small business customers.

“There’s no question that it will become available in New Zealand – it’s a case of when, rather than if.”

With Call Connect, calls to a mobile phone and home phone are diverted to the same mailbox, with a personalised greeting for each. The calls are logged in chronological order and are checked by calling 083210 from a landline or #00 or 083210 from a mobile phone.

Users are alerted to new messages by a fast beeping sound on picking up the receiver or a “call back”/message waiting indicator on their mobile. Users may choose whether or not they wish to use a PIN number unless they are on a phone that is not their own, and a PIN is therefore mandatory.

Calling the mailbox is free from almost any touch-tone phone in the country, while the standard cellular secretary charge applies when calling from a mobile phone.

Call Connect costs $12.95 per month or $11.95 for a six-month contract, with a $5 early disconnection fee applying. Message Connect has additional features designed for the workplace, such as a distribution list functionality and a transfer option, and costs not more than $25 plus GST per mailbox per month.

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