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MCI Moves IBM Technology Into its "Neighborhood"

Open Standards Help Build Flexible, Integrated Voice Mail Infrastructure

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ARMONK, NY - 26 Mar 2003: IBM today announced that its technology would power the voice mail infrastructure for MCI's nationwide, all-distance phone service, The Neighborhood. Using IBM software, this service will deliver message notification and message retrieval, alerting users to new messages via phone, pager or e-mail and providing listening options via phone or the Web to over 2.5 million mailboxes.

The Neighborhood's Personal Voicemail & Message Center relies on IBM's open standards-based WebSphere Internet Infrastructure software to help provide fast, easy access to messages in both traditional and non-traditional ways. The "Notify Me" feature proactively notifies subscribers via e-mail or pager alerts when new messages arrive, which can then be retrieved via the phone or a Web interface. Previously, these unified messaging services were mostly available only to corporations. MCI has brought these services now within easy reach of consumers. The solution is running on IBM eServer pSeries, AIX, IBM's Unix operating systems and uses IBM's POWER4 microprocessor.

MCI is using IBM's highly scalable WebSphere Voice Response to handle and route its millions of incoming calls, and Unified Messaging for WebSphere Voice Response for voicemail and message notification services. Subscribers can also access their voicemail either by phone, or on the Web -- giving them additional flexibility and convenience.

"We chose IBM because of its ability to provide a user-friendly voice mail solution for our customers and because it allows MCI to extend this voicemail service beyond the consumer market in the future," said Steven C. Johnson, MCI Vice President, Information Services and Solutions. "It's scalability and reliability allow MCI to integrate all its messaging applications onto a single platform, reducing our costs and driving efficiencies."

"Service providers need to stay ahead of the competition by providing added value for their customers," said Letina Connelly, Director, Strategy and Solutions, IBM Pervasive Computing Division. "By building on an open and flexible foundation, IBM enables companies like MCI to differentiate their products, increase customer retention as well as grow new customers."

WebSphere Voice Response supports simple to complex applications and can scale to thousands of lines in a networked configuration. Applications can be developed using the native development environment, or using standards-based development tools for Java or VoiceXML. And IBM Unified Messaging manages voice mail for access virtually anywhere and anytime over the telephone or the Internet.

IBM WebSphere is a key component of IBM's Service Provider Delivery Environment (SPDE, pronounced "speed -ee"), an open standards-based framework designed to give wireline and wireless service providers the flexibility to introduce new, revenue-generating voice, text and Internet services to their customers faster, easier and at a lower cost.

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