Frontier text-enables landline phone numbers for business customers

Frontier Communications may not be a wireless operator, but the telco has launched a new service that allows its business customers to send and receive text messages using their existing phone numbers via a partnership with Zipwhip.

By subscribing to the new Frontier Texting powered by Zipwhip service, businesses will be able to communicate with customers and employees who prefer to use text messaging.

Customers will be able to text or receive a text from a business' existing landline or toll-free number. Each message is then pushed simultaneously to the business' Internet-connected devices such as a laptop, desktop, smartphone or tablet. Users can then reply back from whatever device they are using on a Frontier Texting app powered by Zipwhip.

The new texting service is available now for every small office, home office and small and medium business served by Frontier.

"We observed in working with ZipWhip and others, residential customers actually do resonate do try to text business landlines time to time," said Lois Hedg-peth, EVP of Strategy at Frontier, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "We're looking at trend that customers are trending towards text versus call so it seemed like a very logical step."

Hedg-peth added that Frontier's business customers are small and are looking for a "new way to communicate with their customers and do things like check appointments, confirm information or announce sales."

One of the additional elements of the new service is that Frontier is making application programmable interfaces (APIs) available to businesses.

"A pizza shop could modify their ordering system to text back receipts back to you after you've done the voice call, and where that adds value is you can double check that the order was correct," said John Lauer, CEO of ZipWhip. "You may be easing people into the fact that texting is available and maybe next time they are texting in the order."

Frontier is just one of many service providers that are developing this service. Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) signed an agreement with ZipWhip in January where it has text-enabled all of its 40 million toll free numbers on its network, for example.

"You have a large operator enabling this because before this they weren't allowing that kind of traffic," Lauer said, adding that "Frontier also has a huge block of toll free numbers that are part of this launch as well." 

For more:
- see the release

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Updated article on July 2 with quotes from both Frontier and ZipWhip.