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12/17/2007
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AT&T Offers Free Directory Assistance Coast To Coast

The service, available on all U.S. wireless and landline phones, is supported by advertising.

In the latest rush to provide free directory assistance services, AT&T announced that its free directory service -- 1-800-935-5697 -- is now available from coast to coast across the United States.

Callers can dial the number above (marketed as 1-800-YellowPages) to reach the service, which is available on all U.S. wireline and mobile phones.

Previously, AT&T had been gradually rolling out free directory services piecemeal in nine Southeastern states.

The AT&T service is supported by advertising; when callers dial into the service, they're asked what category of business they want. A query for flowers, for instance, generates numbers for nearby florists. "People want information in a variety of ways, and making 1-800-YellowPages available nationally is an important step in providing to not only advertisers but also consumers, a wide range of choices for finding that they need," said David S. Huntley, senior VP at AT&T customer information services, in a statement.

Local and national advertisers are given various options to reach consumers through the service, AT&T said, noting that it publishes more than 1,250 Yellow Pages directories annually. The company added that more than 1 billion local searches were recorded by its YellowPages.com network in 2006.

Free directory calling services are rapidly replacing paid directory assistance offerings, which sometimes charge $3 and up for a single query.

The services run the gamut from startup efforts like 1-800-FREE-411 to a more complex play from Tellme Networks that features different ways for callers to obtain phone numbers. By calling 1-800-555-TELL, or texting TELLM, callers can obtain phone numbers.

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