Verizon Wireless expands group calling options


Never one to let a calling plan opportunity go to waste, Verizon Wireless today unveiled its latest group calling feature dubbed Group Communications. The service comes in two flavors: one targeting small groups our families, while the other is geared to enterprise customers.
The family-oriented offering is conveniently called Family Group Contact and provides a toll-free access number that allows up to 20 members of an account to communicate with each other using either a voice call, text message or a voicemail memo. Members of the group can include anyone on an account plus one non-Verizon Wireless number can be added. The service runs $5 per month for each group and once signed up, any member of that group that has a Verizon Wireless number can initiatiate communications with members of that group.
The enterprise-oriented Group Contact service builds on the same premise as Family Group Contact, but allows up to seven groups to be created using 20 different wireline, wireless or international numbers. Group owners can inititiate the communication session by dialing a number unique to that group. The service runs $7 per month per line.
Management of the service is through a customer’s MyVerizon or MyBusiness online account, which the carrier said allows for instant modifications and updates of the numbers associated with a group.
Beyond the per-month service fee, users are also charged their regular airtime minutes as applicable.
Unlike the push-to-talk service that Verizon Wireless already offers, the carrier said the Group Communications feature is device agnostic. Also, unlike the carrier’s regular on-network Friends and Family service, Group Communications allows for wireline and international numbers.
“This is overarching,” noted Gregory Dial, associate director of voice product marketing at Verizon Wireless. “It’s all inclusive and is more about getting everyone talking.”
Dial noted that the service is powered by Kodiak Networks through an exclusive domestic agreement.

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Dan Meyer

Editor-in-Chief, Telecom Software, Policy, Wireless Carriers
Dan Meyer started at RCR Wireless News in 1999 covering wireless carriers and wireless technologies. As editor-in-chief, Dan oversees editorial direction, reports on news from the wireless industry, including telecom software, policy and wireless carriers, and provides opinion stories on topics of concern to the market such as his popular Friday column “Worst of the Week.”