Service Offers One Number for Many Phones

SEATTLE (07/26/2000) - Startup SimulRing Inc. claims it can provide a phone service that tracks you down wherever you are faster than other follow-me phone services.

With Simultaneous Ring service, each customer is assigned a phone number, and whenever he gets an incoming call, SimulRing's network automatically dials all phone numbers where he might be reached, all at the same time. When the customer answers one phone, SimulRing drops the calls to the other numbers. If the customer doesn't answer after three rings, calls go to voice mail.

Similar phone services, such as WorldCom Inc.'s One Number, call customers' numbers one after another. That forces callers to stay on the line until each number is dialed, rings and goes unanswered; until someone picks up; or the list of numbers is exhausted and the call goes to voice mail.

SimulRing's attempts to call customers' designated lists of phone numbers add just 200 msec to the call set-up time, says CEO Rob Meldrum.

The Simultaneous Ring service also lets customers pick from a wider range of carriers, says Jim Ange, business development director for Lucent, who uses the service. If he changes his cell phone service, for example, he can key his new cell number into his SimulRing profile, and he keeps the same SimulRing phone number.

SimulRing customers add and delete numbers where they might be reached on a secure Web site they can contact via the Internet using a PC or Wireless Application Protocol-enabled devices.

When the service is offered in a city, customers get local phone numbers as their Simultaneous Ring numbers. They can then associate that number with any other numbers where they might be found. If customers have a phone outside the SimulRing local calling area, they pay 9 cents per minute extra for calls received there.

For US$9.95 per month, customers get a Simultaneous Ring phone number and the right to associate it with three other numbers. They can add more numbers for $2 per month each. If they want a number ending in 0 or with repeating digits such as 2828, they pay $5 extra. For a number ending in 00, they pay $24.95.

The one-time startup fee is $29.95. Large corporations buying in bulk can negotiate discounts.

The service will be introduced in Seattle this week, and will roll out to about 50 cities by year-end and 100 cities by the end of 2001.


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