Portland, Ore — Consumer Cellular has partnered with Hamilton Relay and Mobile Captions Company to launch Mobile Captions Service (MCS).

Similar to closed caption on television, MCS enables persons who are deaf or hard of hearing to read typed captions of what is being said on a wireless phone display as the conversation is taking place.

Available exclusively through Consumer Cellular on the Nokia E5 cell phone, MCS subscribers can speak, listen and read during a wireless phone conversation. The Nokia E5 smart phone is M3/T3 hearing aid-compatible and comes with a large, 2.4-inch display and full QWERTY keyboard.

"Consumer Cellular is continuously looking for ways to better serve our customers, empowering them to lead independent, mobile lifestyles with easy-to-use devices and inexpensive calling plans," said John Marick, Consumer Cellular CEO, in a press statement.

How It Works

When customers place a call, the Nokia E5 automatically connects to Hamilton Relay Service. A specially trained live operator, known as a Communications Assistant (CA), then begins typing – in real time – what the other person says. MCS subscribers can then read what is said directly on the screen of the Nokia E5, making it possible to catch every part of the conversation.

The technology that supports MCS is known as Voice Carry Over (VCO). VCO allows individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to utilize their speech on the telephone. Using Hamilton Relay Service, the VCO user speaks directly to the other person, and when the person speaks back, the CA types the response, which is then displayed on the device.

"This new mobile access for VCO users takes traditional telecommunications relay services to an entirely new level," says Dixie Ziegler, vice president of Hamilton Relay, in the announcement.

The new service is not offered nationwide, however. Consumer Celluar repots that the service is only available in participating states where Hamilton Relay is the telecommunications relay service provider.

For information about participating states and how to purchase the Nokia E5 phone, or to be alerted when a new state signs on, visit www.consumercellular.com/mobilecaptions.

SOURCE: Consumer Cellular