Emory has signed an agreement that will mean a
20 percent discount for faculty and staff on both new and existing
cellular telephone accounts.
The agreement is with Verizon Wireless, the largest provider of
wireless communications in the United States.
“This is the most aggressive deal Verizon has ever offered,”
said purchasing’s Bernie Joy, who negotiated the contract.
Verizon services more than 33 million customers, and the company
generated $67.6 billion in revenues globally in 2002.
According to Jo Raquel Gifford, Verizon’s team leader for
the Emory account, this is the largest contract the company has
signed with a university or health care provider ever and one of
the largest in its history.
Under the terms of the new agreement, Emory employees will receive
a 20 percent discount on cellular phone plans with Verizon. The
discount for Emory students is 10 percent—this is the first
time Verizon has included college students in a discount plan. Faculty,
staff and students are eligible for a 25 percent discount on accessories
Emory employees who are already Verizon customers will receive a
20 percent discount on their current plans, or they can change their
plans if they can find one cheaper. If a new user signs up at a
promotional rate, he or she would receive 20 percent off that rate,
rather than the normal rate. There is no limit to the number of
phones an employee can put in his or her name. Currently, around
2,000 Emory employees have taken advantage of the discounts, and
half of those have signed on in the last three months.
The generous terms of the agreement were a triumph of negotiation.
Joy first met with representatives from the cell phone provider
in spring 2001. Verizon’s initial offer was a 7 percent discount
for corporate users—Emory employees using phones for business
purposes—and that discount eventually rose to 20 percent,
but Joy held out for the inclusion of phones for personal use. He
got it, even though the process took two years.
“Usually we can negotiate contracts in a much shorter time,
but the bigger the deal, the longer it takes,” Joy said. Upon
the announcement of the agreement at an April 1 reception at the
Emory Conference Center, Joy compared his excitement and relief
to that of “a woman giving birth.”
“I think the most important thing is that this agreement addresses
not only institutional needs, but the needs of staff members, their
families and of students,” said Rex Hardaway, director of
purchasing. “On this particular agreement, I think we hit
a home run.”
Emory is not the only institution that could benefit from this agreement.
The terms of have been extended to the other 19 members of the Atlanta
Regional Consortium of Higher Education for approval by each individual
Integrating Verizon phones with Emory’s existing communications
system will be an ongoing project. The latest feature is the ability
to dial an on-campus number from a cell phone using only the last
five digits, similar to campus land line.
To purchase cellular lines, Emory corporate users can pay using
a P-Card or valid FAS account. Payment for personal phones is the
responsibility of the individual employee.
Emory’s purchasing department, under which the work to secure
the contract was performed, is a section of the Procurement and
Materials Services Division and is responsible for procuring goods
and services for the University. The Emory Employee Discount Program,
under which the new cellular phone discount falls, is a section
of the purchasing department that offers dozens of bargains to Emory
employees for goods and services ranging from automobile rental
to skin treatments.
In order to take advantage of the new cellular phone plan discount,
or call Verizon’s business support center at 1-800-330-4287,
or contact Gifford at 678-339-6376. The 1-800 number is set up specifically
for the Emory contract. Verizon staffs a kiosk in the Dobbs Center
40 hours a week (three days a week over the summer) as well. Service
can be started, calling plans changed, billing issues address or
equipment turned in for repair at the location.