Cingular Wireless and its parent companies SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth today introduced FastForward(TM) — one of the wireless industry’s first devices to marry the convenience of wireless service with the value of a wireline phone. The patented FastForward device — which works exclusively with Cingular Wireless service — will be available beginning Oct. 1. This unique device — designed as a cradle to hold a wireless phone — simply plugs into an electrical outlet. When the Cingular Wireless phone is “cradled,” calls to the wireless phone are forwarded to a designated landline phone, while the wireless phone’s battery is automatically re-charged. Cingular customers with a FastForward device can get unlimited incoming wireless calls (minutes) forwarded to their landline phone in the local calling area — without the minutes counting against their monthly wireless calling plan for just $2.99 per month plus the cost of the device. The service is free to SBC residential local phone company customers who receive a single bill for Cingular wireless and landline services, and BellSouth customers who sign up for a combined bill and two other features.
For Cingular Wireless and its parent companies, SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth, the introduction of the FastForward device is part of a larger initiative to create a new category of products that simplify the calling process and change how people communicate. By integrating wireless and wireline services and networks, the companies are delivering unique and differentiating offerings that will help SBC companies and BellSouth acquire and retain customers, while at the same time helping Cingular grow its subscriber base.
“In a sea of complex communications options, simplicity is refreshing,” said Marc Lefar, chief marketing officer, Cingular Wireless. “FastForward simplifies our customers’ lives by giving them greater control over their communications — wireless or wireline, at home or on the go.”
Here’s how FastForward works:
Simply add the landline number to the wireless phone’s address book and insert your wireless phone into the FastForward cradle. An indicator light illuminates on the cradle, showing the forwarding service is active. Now, calls that would have gone to your wireless phone will ring the designated landline telephone. To deactivate, just press the CANCEL button on the front of the device and remove the wireless phone from the cradle.
FastForward will be available throughout Cingular’s coverage area beginning Oct. 1, and in Puerto Rico later this year.
“FastForward is yet another example of how Cingular provides cost- effective, creative solutions for its customers. Along with Rollover(TM), this will set Cingular apart from the pack of ‘me-too’ wireless carriers by providing a service that our research indicates customers want,” continued Lefar.
“Through our initiative with Cingular we’re creating truly differentiated products that will fundamentally change how our customers access and use communications services,” said Ray Wilkins, president, SBC marketing and sales. “Integrating wireless with core telephone services will differentiate us from competitors and help us gain and retain customers.”
“The integration of wireless and wireline has always been important to BellSouth and its customers. With virtually all of our wireline customers capable of being served by Cingular, this announcement is significant,” said Dick Anderson, president customer markets, BellSouth.
The new FastForward device can be purchased as a stand-alone item at all Cingular Wireless retail locations for just $39.99. SBC residential customers purchasing new Cingular Wireless service can call their consumer service centers* and also purchase the device for the same amount plus tax, shipping and handling. (Compatible wireless phones must be purchased separately. Customers also need to add unlimited call forwarding to their Cingular Wireless service calling plan for a charge of up to $2.99 a month to not have minutes count against their wireless calling plan. The service is free to SBC and BellSouth with certain packages.)
SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth each already have introduced service bundles that provide conveniences such as one-stop shopping, a single bill and discounts for both wireless and wireline services. FastForward is just one more benefit to being a customer of both Cingular Wireless and an SBC or BellSouth local phone company.
Initially, the FastForward device will be compatible with select Nokia and Motorola wireless phone models. Additional FastForward-compatible wireless phones, including Sony Ericsson and Siemens, should be available as early as Nov. 1.