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Voice mail option allows for 'sly dialing'

Voice mail option allows for 'sly dialing'

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Have you ever put off calling someone because you dread speaking to that person? Now there's a way for you to leave a message on a cell phone without that person picking up.

Have you ever needed to call someone, but you don't really want to talk to them? A new service lets you call them and go directly to their voice mail without the chat you're trying to avoid. Some people I spoke with say they don't know if they'd use it.

One Salt Lake shopper said, "I want to connect with them. I want to talk to them direct." Another said, "When I use the phone, I generally want to connect."

But, others say they can think of a few reasons to use it.

One man said, "If you need to leave somebody information." Another suggested you could use it to leave directions, and another said, "Maybe (there's) a girl you call and you don't really want to talk, and just leave her a message."

I know, classy.

The service is called sly dial. It's free and it's pretty easy to use. First, you call 267-SLY-DIAL, which has a Philadelphia area code. It asks you to dial the number you want to leave a message with. Then you listen to a short commercial, leave your message, and, boom, an unpleasant conversation is avoided, like calling in sick or canceling plans you didn't want to be a part of anyway.

Spring Communications Salt Lake City Chief Operating Officer Steve Bain said, "It's really interesting. It's the first company that bridges multiple cellular carriers in exchanging back-door voice mail."

Bain says back-door voice messaging could be popular for business, as well as personal callers. But before you call an additional number to do this you should know that this may be a service you're already paying for.

"From cellular to cellular, on the same carrier, most major U.S. cell phone providers offer that service," he said.

So, how do you know if you have it already?

"Typically it will be in a welcome kit that you get when you purchase your phone. Or, I'm sure you can find that on the carrier's Web site,or you could call their customer care number," he said.

Bain says it's a service that isn't advertised as much as other options in a cell phone plan, and many people don't know they have it. He says AT&T and T-Mobile definitely offer back-door messaging, and other carriers like Verizon might as well.


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Paul Nelson


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