• U.S.

Telecommunications: Entry-Level Phone Service

1 minute read

In northwest Mexico without your own phone? No problem. “Virtual telephone service” to the rescue. Come spring you can get your own number and confidential voice mailbox and, by calling from any public phone, retrieve messages left by other callers. The Trilogue system, patented by Comverse Technology of Woodbury, N.Y., provides instant hookup in areas where expensive phone installation may take months, even years. “I call it entry-level service,” says Comverse spokesman Paul Baker. “We’re bringing the modern telephone to the grass roots.”

The novel contract with Mexico’s Telmex phone company calls for 1,000 electronic mailboxes in each of three cities: Tijuana, Mexicali and Ensenada. Potentially, Trilogue could service scores of other Mexican urban areas that have the prerequisite pay-phone networks. Farther afield, Comverse is eyeing markets in developing countries from South America to the Far East. The company has links with major distributors like Samsung in Korea and Oki in Japan, as well as Alcatel, the French telecommunications giant, which rang up the Mexican deal.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com