Sprint IP Relay Gives Hearing Callers More Ways to Connect With Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Individuals Via AOL’s AIM Relay Services
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. —Sprint (NYSE: S) today announced an upgrade to the Sprint IP Relay service to now enable hearing callers to use their telephone to contact individuals who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or who have a speech disability via operator-assisted instant messaging using AOL’s AIM Relay service.
In order to access the service, the hearing caller dials a toll-free number 877-866-8057 (English) or 877-866-8059 (Spanish) that is answered by a Sprint Relay operator. The operator will ask the caller for the AIM® screen name of the deaf or hard-of-hearing individual they are trying to reach. If the AIM® user is online, the operator will connect the call and begin relaying the conversation via instant message. If the AIM user is “away” or unavailable to receive the call, the hearing caller is able to leave a brief message through the Sprint Relay operator who will type an instant message to the AIM user. The deaf or hard-of-hearing AIM user must first send an instant message to the AIM® screen name “SprintIP” and type “Register” to begin receiving calls from hearing callers.
“We strive to offer a wide variety of relay solutions to meet the needs of individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing; this enhancement to Sprint IP Relay reinforces our ongoing commitment our customers and the deaf community,” said Mike Ligas, director, Sprint Relay.
Sprint IP Relay service via AIM has been available since early-2006 and also enables deaf and hard-of-hearing AIM users to send an instant message to the AIM screen name “SprintIP” to contact an operator. The operator would then place a telephone call to the hearing caller and relay the conversation between the two parties, reading the conversation/instant messages out loud to the hearing caller and typing the responses back via AIM to the deaf caller. The “SprintIP” Screen Name can be added to the AIM® Buddy List® feature, and deaf users can initiate Sprint IP Relay calls directly through the AIM® service.
“We realize that AIM serves as a valuable communication tool for everyday interactions for many in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community,” said Tom Wlodkowski, director of accessibility, AOL. “We are excited to be able to work together with Sprint to further enhance the Sprint IP Relay service and broaden communications options available through AIM.”
The Sprint IP Relay service is available from Sprint at no cost to users. The Sprint IP Relay and AIM Relay services are accessible on the Web through the AIM service, which is available as a free download at www.aim.com, as well as through the Apple® iChat® client.
Sprint Relay Portfolio of Services
Sprint has 17 years of experience in providing relay services to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind or have a speech disability to communicate with hearing persons on the phone. Sprint’s experience in the field assures users of Sprint Relay receive quality service no matter what type of Relay service they are using. Relay service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no restrictions on the number of calls placed or call length. For more information, visit www.sprintrelay.com.
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