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12/18/2007
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Finally, an Easier Way to Retrieve Your Voice Mail Messages

Having trouble hearing your phone messages? Are you ever in a crowded room so listening closely is not an option? Alltel rolled out a new service, so small and medium businesspersons have a new option for retrieving their voice mail messages.

Having trouble hearing your phone messages? Are you ever in a crowded room so listening closely is not an option? Alltel rolled out a new service, so small and medium businesspersons have a new option for retrieving their voice mail messages.Working in conjunction with SpinVox, a leading provider of Voice-to-Screen messaging, the wireless carrier launched a new service , dubbed Voice2TXT, which converts voice mail messages into text based messages. Users can now respond to their voicemails without having to dial in and listen to them. The service also allows customers to store and forward converted voicemails as regular text messages and retrieve the original voicemail, if needed.

The new service adds convenience to a busy executives day. One of the biggest hassles with voicemail is that you have to actually check each one and listen to every single one, even if you dont want to - this wastes precious minutes. Users can now quickly check who called, what they said, and call them back - all in a simple to use and fast text-based interface. Employees also have more options in responding to their messages. Because it is text, voicemail messages are searchable, savable, and can be forwarded to another interested party. For bloggers, the service lets you publish a text entry to your blog on the Internet just by making a phone call  something that comes in handy when you want to post right from a conference, trade show, concert or other event. In addition, the service allows users to send themselves e-mail reminders, such as "Call Bob at 1:00.

The service underscores the increased integration of traditional voice services with new data and video services. Apples iPhone's features "visual voice mail", which allows users to view incoming voice mails in a list and respond to them out of order. The Alltel service takes this concept a step further, enabling users to treat their voicemail messages as e-mail or text messages.

Availability is one of the limitations with the service. Alltel does not have as many customers or as large a coverage area as the Tier 1 wireless carriers. Also, the service could cost small and medium businesses a lot of money. Voice2TXT is available in a variety of pricing options: $4.99 per month for 20 voicemail conversions (each additional one is 25 cents); $9.99 per month for 50 conversions (each additional message is 20 cents); and $19.99 per month for 100 conversions (each additional message is 10 cents). Now with Alltel offering the services, one should expect other carriers to try and match it.

How often do you use your voicemail? How much interest do you have in a speech-to-text service like Voice2TXT? How much extra would you be willing to pay for it?

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