Metro One Launches Directory and Personal Assistant Service
PORTLAND, R - Metro One Telecommunications Inc. (NASDAQ: MTON), the provider of Enhanced Directory Assistance and other enhanced telecom services, announced that it has launched "Infone" - a new service that provides enhanced directory and personal assistant services directly to consumers. Callers may use the service from nearly any domestic telephone, wireline or wireless, by dialing "888-411-1111." Service is available immediately, and billing is handled by using a major credit card. Multiple phones, regardless of the phone company, may be registered, resulting in billing by means of a single line item each month. Calls can be connected nationwide and to Canada for the all-inclusive price of 89. for any call of up to 15 minutes, plus 5. per minute after that. "We are excited to provide any caller the ability to receive the enhanced services they want, and just the way they want them," said Timothy A. Timmins, president and chief executive of Metro One Telecommunications. "We have quietly built a national telephone company that carries its own calls throughout the United States and to Canada. This provides us entry into the wireline market for enhanced directory and personal assistant services, while allowing us to also facilitate affordable, long telephone conversations anywhere in the country. Customers previously separated from Metro One's service because of choices made for them by their phone company may again enjoy the high-quality, enhanced services to which they had grown accustomed, with added features and a significantly lower price." A feature of Infone is its ability to recognize a caller's voice, enabling delivery of a suite of personalized services by a live operator. Callers are welcomed by the "Infone Tone," whereupon they reply by saying "Hello Infone." The speaking of this phrase - a sort of universal password for the service - allows the speaker to be verified and greeted by name as his or her customized services are delivered. This procedure also allows for an added measure of security on each call. Metro One developed this feature for its sole use in the Enhanced Directory Assistance market in conjunction with SpeechWorks International of Boston (Nasdaq: SPWX). Greeting callers by name in a directory assistance environment is a patented Metro One feature. Metro One has taken care to not frustrate callers with automated systems. A human operator is readily accessible throughout any call, and most Infone services, including enrollment, are provided by a live operator. Infone is available to anyone with a credit card. Enrollment is conducted with a live operator or over the internet at www.infone.com. After completing a one-time, nocommitment signup, callers receive their first five calls for free. The service does not require a contract or monthly minimum -- callers pay only for what they use. For years, Metro One has provided a limited version of its Enhanced Directory Assistance for wireless telephone carriers on a wholesale basis. Now these services and more are directly accessible by consumers. Among the initial services included in Infone are "My Infone," a personal assistant service to handle contacts, calendars and personal preferences; "TeleConcierge," for making reservations and performing other concierge services; hotel reservations; movie listings and reviews; event listings and descriptions, through Metro One's proprietary events database; directions and roadside assistance and directory assistance -- including category and reverse searches. The company's patented StarBack return-to-operator feature heads a list of connectivity features for which Metro One is known. The company plans to offer a number of new features in the coming months. Infone rates include connection and transport on every call. Infone telephone traffic is carried over lines leased from XO Communications and AT&T. It allows service throughout the 50 United States, as well as calls from the U.S. to Canada and Puerto Rico. "Most phone company products are about that company's phone...Infone, on the other hand, is about the caller, so it doesn't really make a difference which phone is used to make the call." said Timmins. "The high technical quality of our services is due in large part to our partners SpeechWorks, XO Communications and AT&T, whose development prowess, hustle and commitment to excellence have proven to be consistent with our approach."