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Alltel offers voice-to-text message service

New service employs SpinVox voice-to-screen technology

By Brad Reed, Network World
December 17, 2007 02:56 PM ET

Network World - Alltel Wireless today unveiled a new service that transcribes customers' voice mails and delivers them as text messages.

The new service, called Voice2TXT, is employed using voice-to-screen messaging technology developed by British technology company SpinVox. The service will be available to any Alltel Wireless phone that is equipped with SMS capabilities, the company says. In addition to being able to read voice messages as text, the new service will allow users to forward their voice mail text messages to others.

“Our customers will appreciate the fact that they no longer have to wait for the opportune time to listen to a voice mail,” says Craig Kirkland, Alltel's director of messaging and voice services. “With Voice2TXT, our customers have an easier way to manage their voice mails via text messages when they are in a meeting, on the go or anyplace where they cannot or do not wish to use traditional voice mail.”

The service for Alltel users is an add-on that they can receive for their current plans, and the company has listed three pricing plans for the service. For $4.99 per month, subscribers can have 20 of their voice mails converted to text messages, with each additional text costing 25 cents. A $9.99 monthly fee will get users 50 text voice mails with 20 cents per each additional message, while a $19.99 monthly fee will give users 100 text voice mails with 10 cents for each additional message.

Vonage also began offering voice-to-text messaging services for its customers earlier this year. Under Vonage's plan, users paid 25 cents per transcribed message rather than a flat monthly fee for a limited number of messages. Vonage's plan also gave users the option of forwarding text voice mails directly to their e-mail accounts.

Alltel is a relatively small wireless carrier based in Little Rock, Ark. that has roughly 12 million subscribers nationwide and that has won consistently high marks for its call quality from Consumer Reports. The company has been concentrating on wireless service since it spun off its wireline business in 2005. Alltel also recently completed its sale to an affiliate of TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners, thus paving the way for the company to go private.

Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World's Wireless & Mobile section.

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