Feeling the competitive heat in prepaid phone cards Chicago- based Ameritech launched two new phone cards yesterday. The new Ameritech ‘A+’ phone card features flat rate pricing for all domestic calls regardless of destination. The company also announced a cobranded phone card, called ‘Family Memories’, which doubles as a birth announcement for new parents and offers partners a pocket billboard. The ‘Family Memories’ card will be available in 3,900 hospitals nationwide and enables new mothers and fathers to send family and friends free phone time on a card bearing the photo of the newborn. Ameritech recently issued a phone card featuring the Renoir exhibit underway in Chicago.
Ten years after it introduced the United States to one of the first prepaid phone cards, Ameritech (NYSE: AIT) today announced a prepaid phone card initiative that reaffirms the company’s leadership status in the industry and aims to change the way consumers and businesses view the value of phone time.
Anchoring Ameritech’s product line is the new A+ Card, an Ameritech branded prepaid phone card which offers consumers one rate on domestic calls regardless of the time of day, day of the week or destination of the call. By the end of the year, consumers will be able to purchase the A+ Card in thousands of retail stores nationwide.
In addition, Ameritech announced a unique co-branded card that doubles as a birth announcement for new parents. Together, Ameritech’s A+ Card, co- branded cards and promotional cards, such as Ameritech’s recent card featuring the Renoir exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, complete one of the most robust prepaid product lines available today.
“The A+ Card is the final piece to our comprehensive prepaid phone card initiative,” said Saul Hernandez, vice president of Ameritech Small Business Services. “We have a diversified product line with turnkey solutions that meet the needs of every business interested in prepaid phone cards, and the consumers who use them.”
A+ Card offers convenience, savings, peace of mind
Ameritech’s new A+ Card gives consumers a cost-saving alternative to collect calls and calling cards. Bearing the Ameritech brand, the A+ Card will soon be available in a variety of retail outlets, including appliance stores, electronic stores, convenient stores and more.
The A+ Card offers consumers a new method to budget and control phone usage. Customers don’t have to itemize calls or deal with the hassles of billing. And because it offers one rate for any domestic call, consumers know exactly what they’re paying per minute for long distance calls.
“We’re giving consumers a convenient method to place phone calls with a card they can trust,” Hernandez said. “Honest pricing. No hidden charges. And we guarantee the card will work or it will be replaced.”
For retailers, the A+ Card is a low maintenance product that increases customer traffic while generating revenue. “A+ is more than just phone time,” Hernandez said. “It’s a turnkey solution that virtually markets itself.”
The A+ Card package includes phone time, point of purchase materials, complete training, a retailer help line, and more.
Family Memories card is a great way to announce newborns
In a unique co-branded deal that could rival the age-old tradition of passing out cigars by new fathers, Ameritech and Texas-based Sportscall LLC. launched the “Family Memories” phone card, initially targeting new parents. Soon to be available in over 3,900 hospitals in all 50 states and currently available by phone, new mothers and fathers can send family and friends free phone time on a card bearing a lovable photo of their newborn.
“The Family Memories card is a great example of the creative opportunities that exist with selling or giving away phone time,” Hernandez said. “Everyone can use free phone time. And what a thoughtful way to introduce your newborn to your friends and family.”
The Family Memories card, which is available today by phone at 888-243-1033, can be used with any photo for any occasion: engagements, graduations, anniversaries, and more.
The Family Memories card is a new twist on the popular co-branded prepaid card, in which companies and organizations can use phone time to get their name and logo in front of consumers.
“With consumers reaching into their wallet over and over, each day, co- branded phone cards are like pocket billboards,” Hernandez said. “They create mouth-watering brand awareness, day after day.”
Ameritech offers interested organizations a turnkey solution for co- branded prepaid phone cards as well. From design and production through training and help-line support, Ameritech provides customers with everything they need to market prepaid phone cards.
Stimulating promotional card displays Renoir work
Another creative and strategic application for phone cards is in promotions. Ameritech’s latest promotional card offers a credit card-size rendition of “The Afternoon of the Children in Wargemont” — one of the 65 portraits displayed in the “Renoir’s Portraits; Impressions of an Age” exhibit, showing at the Art Institute of Chicago until Jan. 4, 1998.
To mark the special event, Ameritech, a sponsor of the exhibit, created 4,000 Renoir cards in five- and 20-minute denominations.
“Promotional cards are a unique way for businesses to say thank you to their customers,” Hernandez said. “They can be tied to art exhibits, holiday promotions, seasonal sales, special events, you name it — everyone values free phone time.”
Other unique promotional cards created through Ameritech include a Halloween safety card featuring McGruff — “the crime dog,” a Macy’s Mother’s Day card, and more.
Organizations interested in creating their own promotional or co-branded card, or in selling the A+ Card can get more information by contacting Ameritech at 1-800-660-6035.
Ameritech serves millions of customers in 50 states and 40 countries. Ameritech provides a full range of communications services, including local and long distance telephone, cellular, paging, security monitoring, cable TV, electronic commerce, on-line services and more. One of the world’s 100 largest companies, Ameritech (http://www.ameritech.com) has 69,000 employees, 1 million shareowners and $24 billion in assets.