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Concentric Introduces On Call E-mail

Dial-up customers of Concentric Network Corp. can now retrieve and manage their e-mail messages with a phone call.

Through an agreement with Mail Call Inc. announced Monday, subscribers will be able to hear their e-mail messages through text-to-speech technology when they subscribe to Concentric Mail Call service.

Subscribers to the Concentric Mail Call service simply call a toll-free phone number and log-in with their customer ID and PIN code. A computerized voice will inform the customer how many e-mail messages are in their mailbox and begin reading the headers for each message.

Users have the ability to choose whether or not to listen to the full text message. They can reply directly to the sender, forward the message to someone in their address book, or send the message to a fax machine.

In addition, users can set options on the Concentric Mail Call Web page, allowing them to filter messages so that mailing lists or messages from certain senders will not be read while on the road. Similarly, particular senders or subjects can be prioritized so that they are always read first.

"We are very excited about working with Concentric," said Ron Schnell, president of Mail Call. "We feel their business customers are exactly the type of Internet users who can benefit from our service the most. These customers cannot afford to be out of touch with e-mail, and this solves a problem without requiring them to lug around their laptop or find a data port compatible with their set-up."

"Concentric is continually adding new services and features, and Mail Call's text-to-speech e-mail service is a tremendous new value-add for our dial-up customers," said Alan Warshaw, vice president of marketing for Concentric's network services division. "Concentric selected Mail Call as an exclusive provider of this cutting-edge technology because they can offer a high-quality, easy to use service at an affordable price."

Concentric users pay 20 cents a minute to use the text-to-speech. Additionally, there is a $5 annual membership fee to keep the account active.