AT&T Wireless Services to market cell phones from automated kiosks
ORLANDO, Fla. -- March 25, 1996 -- AT&T Wireless Services in Florida will be the first cellular carrier in the country to market wireless telephones using an automated kiosk that dispenses ready-to-use cellular phones directly to the customer.
The Interactive Retail Information System (IRIS), developed by Lightbridge Inc., is fully automated and provides a wide array of customer services. The stand-alone kiosks allow customers to obtain rate information, equipment prices, examine maps of their local calling area and even purchase a telephone -- all at the touch of a button.
"American consumers want a wide array of shopping options ... from home shopping channels on television to ordering from catalogues through the Internet. We believe the kiosks represent the next generation in cellular shopping and will help our customers save valuable time," said Bill Oberlink, president of AT&T Wireless Services' southeast region.
The kiosks will initially be located at AT&T Wireless Services stores throughout the state. By early summer the kiosks will contain a vending capability that will allow them to operate independent of the AT&T Wireless Services store locations. Customers will also have the option of having their new telephone mailed to them using overnight delivery service. "At that time we will have unlimited options," said Oberlink. "The day may come when potential customers can pick up some groceries, deposit money in their bank account and buy a cellular phone all at the same location. The kiosks make anything possible."
The kiosks utilize a touch screen video monitor which allows the customer to navigate through a series of topics, telephone models, rate plans and general information. Once the customer decides to purchase, the kiosk processes credit applications, and once a customer is approved, dispenses a cellular telephone package including a telephone, battery charger and cigarette lighter adapter. The phone is ready to use as soon as it is dispensed.
"This is simply breakthrough technology," said Pamela Reeve, president and CEO of Lightbridge. "And we are delighted to work with the nation's leading cellular carrier to make this technology available to the public."
Lightbridge Inc. is an entrepreneurial company located in Waltham, Mass., which specializes in innovative solutions for customer acquisition and retention in the wireless industry. Lightbridge offers fully automated said Oberlink. "The day may come when potential customers can pick up and integrated qualification and activation services, channel-specific distribution systems, billing system interfaces and ProFile, the only inter-carrier subscriber screening service.
AT&T Wireless Services is the nation's largest provider of cellular service offering wireless voice and data communications. The company has nearly five million cellular customers and licenses to eventually cover 80 percent of the U.S. The company is the nation's fifth largest messaging service provider and a world class leader in aviation communications services.