Alltel Feature Turns Voicemail to Text

Alltel Corp. is unveiling a new feature that uses voice-recognition software to allow wireless phone customers to read their voicemail messages as text messages. Monthly fees for the Voice2TXT service start at $4.99, and users will still have the option to listen to the messages. "It'll appeal to a broad customer base ... people who are in meetings quite regularly and can't take a phone call - it's very useful in those settings," said Wade McGill, Alltel's senior vice president of product management. Alltel is using technology developed by Britain-based SpinVox. It will work on any Alltel wireless phone that can receive text messages, McGill said.

"It was one of those services that once you get it, you don't want to give it up," he said, describing the reaction of a test group. Alltel began offering the service in a soft launch Friday. To access it, customers need to reset their voicemail and greeting. After that, the voicemail text option will be available, McGill said. SpinVox said its Voice Message Conversion System, which converts messages in English, French, Spanish and German, eliminates the need to search for a pen to write down the details of a message or navigate through a voicemail service. "Voice2TXT as delivered by SpinVox eliminates the frustrations with dialing into voicemail by offering a discreet, efficient alternative," said Christina Domecq, co-founder and chief executive of SpinVox.

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I'd love something like this on ATT, then I dont have to call my vm, I hate waiting for all the stupid prompts and bs, I'd rather jsut hear (or read) the message... my only consern is if it is a long message if it comes in via text or something, then how many texts are we talking about? But this should be a free service, I wouldnt pay for it unless I were deaf and it were a necessity

Vonage already has this feature. Don't use it, because I can login and listen to messages. Wonder if Vonage will now be able to sue some one else, or if they will get sued for a patent Alltel already had?

Gee, I might be interested if Alltel hadn't sent a collection agency after me a few years ago when I had never even heard of them and they weren't advertising or, as far as I could tell, doing business in any capacity in my geographical region.

Swore then that I'd never do business with them, and I'm sticking to it.

i find features like this are most useful when phones start breaking and your stuck with them. Like my friend accidentally got his snapped in half and the screen no longer worked or the speaker. But the speaker phone still worked thus it wasn't all lost. This would be good for the txt freaks and for if your speakers die?

Carphone Whorehouse in the UK has been offering a similar service for about 12mths or so now. Don't know how well it works, as I cant be bothered paying for such a lame service, however after working at TypeTalk (a phone service for deaf people) several years ago, I could see the benefits of such a thing, as I know that a lot of deaf people have mobile phones as they find it easier to send text messages etc to people, but obviously would find it impossible to listen to voicemail.

Why can't they make a web-based voice mail? Have everything listed by date, time, originating number, and a link to listen to the recording as a MP3.

Do the page right, and it could give you near-iPhone capabilities on a much wider range of phones and networks (basically anything with a browser which could be triggered for audio playback).

I could even see it done as a third-party service which just once every few hours pinged your voicemail number and retrieved the messages for web display.