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Message in a handset Featured

6:42am EDT April 24, 2002

Your wireless phone might be good for more than just talking to people.

For instance, Verizon's Mobile Messenger, allows customers to send or receive text messages from their handset up to 160 characters long.

There is no monthly fee, and it costs just a few cents per message to use, with bundles of 100 to 600 messages available for flat rates for heavy users.

"With the mobile messenger, there is no roaming no matter where you are in the country," says Carlos Beccar, marketing manager for wireless data products for Verizon. "The price is always the same."

A companion to the mobile messenger is the Web site www.vtext.com. From that site, anyone can send a message to a Verizon customer with Mobile Messenger. The person's mobile number is their messaging address. Users can also enter reminders on the site, and when it's time for an appointment, for example, the message reminder will be sent to the phone.

"We're getting great feedback from small companies," says Beccar. "The office can set up a distribution list and can send a message to service truck one or service truck two, for example. They can send one message to 10 sales people or service trucks and only have to compose the message once."

The office also knows when the message was received and verification, so no one can claim they never received the message. Companies are essentially using the phones as a sort of low cost dispatcher system.

"Sales managers have really found the benefits, because if they have to get a message to everyone, they can just use Mobile Messenger and not have to worry about interrupting someone in a sales presentation," says Beccar.Messenges are managed on the phone just like an e-mail account on your computer.

There are some basic "canned" responses available to save you time, and each handset now has predictive word typing to help speed up the process of typing out a message using the number pad on the handset. Ninety-seven percent of all messages are delivered within 30 seconds nationwide.

Verizon Mobile Messenger companion site