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MICHIGAN BELL'S CALLER ID DEBUTS MARCH 1

 MICHIGAN BELL'S CALLER ID DEBUTS MARCH 1
 DETROIT, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Starting March 1, more than a


million Michigan Bell customers in parts of the Detroit metropolitan area will be able to order a new service that lets them see the number of the person who's calling them before they pick up their phones.
 The long-awaited Caller ID service displays the telephone number of an incoming call on a device that's either attached to or part of the telephone.
 "With Caller ID, you have information you need to decide how you want to handle your incoming calls," said Laird Spencer, Michigan Bell's senior director of marketing and business development.
 "So if you're waiting for a call from your spouse, your boss or the family doctor, you can know immediately who's calling," Spencer said.
 Caller ID also can drastically reduce obscene, harassing and prank phone calls. "Requests to trace the source of unwanted calls dropped by one-half during the first six months New Jersey Bell made the service available to its customers," Spencer said. "And in some New Jersey communities it has nearly eliminated false and prank calls to fire departments."
 Spencer said Caller ID will be available initially to more than 1 million customers in some areas of Detroit and in parts of surrounding communities, and will become available to customers elsewhere in the state as equipment modifications are made.
 Caller ID service works only when Michigan Bell's call processing equipment serving the phone lines of both the caller and the called party is equipped to provide the service.
 Caller ID will be available for $6.50 a month. The price includes the display of 300 telephone numbers. Numbers displayed in excess of that allowance will cost 2 cents each. There will be no charge for the display of codes indicating the number has been blocked or is from outside the area equipped for Caller ID service.
 There is a one-time start-up charge of $7.50 for the service, but that fee will be waived for the first 30 days the service is available in a given area.
 Michigan Bell can refer customers to a supplier of the display devices at the time they order the service; or customers can purchase the units at area retail stores. Purchase prices range from about $40 to $135. Units are modular and can be connected easily.
 Michigan Bell annually receives more than 150,000 customer complaints of unwanted calls. Independent research indicates that only a fraction of unwanted calls is ever reported and fewer still file formal complaints with authorities -- in Michigan, fewer than 20 percent do.
 "Customer research clearly shows that Caller ID will be among the most popular of our new advanced custom calling services," Spencer said. "Surveys indicate that a majority of residential customers believe the service enhances privacy."
 Customers will be able to prevent their phone numbers from being displayed when they call. Customers do not have to order this free per-call blocking feature; it can be activated simply by dialing a blocking code.
 Because of customer concern over the privacy issue, Michigan Bell drew on recommendations from a broad-based panel representing consumer, law enforcement, public service and senior citizen organizations in formulating a plan for the Caller ID service.
 "Caller ID with free per-call blocking represents the citizen panel's position on the privacy issue," said Spencer.
 Caller ID is the first all-new service Michigan Bell has introduced since Michigan's new telecommunications law was enacted, he said.
 Residence customers interested in the service may call a special toll-free number: 1-800-482-8055.
 -0- 2/5/92
 /CONTACT: Phil Jones, 313-963-2398, or Dean Hovey, 313-223-7197, both of Michigan Bell/ CO: Michigan Bell ST: Michigan IN: TLS SU: PDT


KK -- DE007 -- 7072 02/05/92 10:09 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 5, 1992
Words:625
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