Alltel Adds Voicemail-to-Text Capabilities on Mobile Phones
Alltel Wireless late last week launched a new Voice2TXT service, powered by speech-to-text provider SpinVox. The service, which is an opt-in addition for all Alltel customers, converts spoken voicemail messages into text message format.
Though companies like CallWave offer free or subscription-based voice-to-text services for mobile users, Alltel’s announcement makes it the first of the five largest mobile companies to offer a speech conversion feature. Additionally, Alltel’s service does not simply relay the ‘gist’ of a message; users can receive the full length of the voicemail in up to three text messages.
Neil Osam, product marketing manager for SMS and Voice2TXT at Alltel, says the company implemented the feature after witnessing the technology’s success in Europe and Canada. Though Osam says the product gives all customers flexibility, he notes that two demographics—business professionals and youths—have shown the most interest in the service.
"We are definitely heavily targeting our business sector, but we also saw interest across the board through every channel, including consumers," Osam says. "There’s a big wow factor for kids; it’s something new and creative."
For professionals, the service provides a means of receiving voicemail information during situations like meetings, when a customer cannot pick up their phone or call in to their voice mailbox. For the youth market, Osam believes that younger generations have become accustomed to and prefer text messaging. The Voice2TXT product, he explains, is just a natural extension of this trend.
"Kids are heavy texters as is, and kids are also in a lot of situations where they might not want to talk to certain people or talk at certain times," Osam explains.
Alltel chose SpinVox over other vendors for the company’s accuracy rates and experience in the voicemail-to-text space. Though the company has recently begun spreading into social networks and blogs, SpinVox’s roots remain in the mobile messaging sector, and has the ability to relay a message in full.
The service, which was made available last Friday, comes in three different plans: $4.99 per month for 20 conversions; $9.99 per month for 50 conversions; and $19.99 per month for 100 conversions. Each additional conversion is charged a nominal fee, depending upon the user’s plan.