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Businesses and government agencies will now be able to send text messages using their landline or toll-free phone number thanks to AT&T’s new Landline Texting service.

According to AT&T, the service allows businesses to utilize an app on their web, mobile or desktop device to send and receive text and multimedia messages from their landline or toll-free number. No new equipment is needed to use the service, AT&T said.

AT&T said use cases for the service include call centers, staffing, professional or contractor services, auto dealerships, education and restaurants and hospitality applications.

AT&T said Wednesday it is the first major U.S. carrier to offer the service.

“Businesses often waste time playing phone tag with customers just to get simple information,” AT&T Executive Director of Big Data and Advanced Solutions Igor Glubochansky wrote in a blog post introducing the service. “This service helps companies reduce calls, voicemails, and back-and-forth with clients. They can also manage several text chats at once rather than spending time talking to one person.”

Glubochansky said the new service will enable businesses and government agencies to better communicate with their customers by allowing consumers to submit inquiries via text message rather than calling. Glubochansky said it will also allow businesses to process customer requests faster and more efficiently.

The service comes as mobile phone users increasingly turn to texting as a prominent means of communication.

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center study on mobile technology, more than 80 percent of cell phone users actively send and receive text messages. An August 2014 Harris Poll further found that 64 percent of consumers prefer businesses that offer texting as a customer service channel.

In order to use the landline texting service, AT&T said companies and agencies must register their existing toll-free or landline phone number with the carrier. The number can remain with the business’ currently landline provider, AT&T said.

AT&T’s landline texting service allows business users to manage their contacts list, create groups and add custom signatures and away messages, the carrier said.

Due to regulations surrounding the sending of text messages, AT&T recommended that companies interested in using the service consult with their legal counsel.

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