SBC Says Network Pact Will Help It Compete Nationally

SBC Communications Inc. on Wednesday announced a three-way pact that the regional phone company says will allow it to compete more effectively outside 13 states following its $16 billion acquisition of AT&T Corp.

The pact calls for Time Warner Telecom to provide the combined AT&T and SBC special access and other last mile network services across the country through the end of 2010.

The agreement would become effective upon the closing of the AT&T-SBC merger, which is being reviewed by the FCC, Department of Justice and state regulators.

AT&T entered a long-term commercial agreement with Time Warner Telecom in January 2001. Time Warner agreed to provide AT&T local network access so AT&T could predominantly provide private line and special access services to businesses nationwide and terminate long-distance and international calls, according to a press release issued by all three carriers involved in the new pact.

This agreement enables SBC, post-merger, to become a more effective out-of-region provider, thereby enhancing competition in the industry nationwide, said Mark Keiffer, senior vice president-business marketing for SBC.

In filings with regulators, some critics of the pending merger have said San Antonio, Texas-based SBC promised to compete aggressively outside its 13-state region following its 1999 acquisition of Ameritech Corp. but failed to live up to its word.

SBC complied with the three-year condition, which expired in October 2002, says an FCC spokesman. The agency does not have information on SBCs current presence outside of its territory.

In a separate agreement, SBC will provide Time Warner Telecom with special access and other last mile network services in SBC’s territory for five years. The pact, which takes effect Thursday, strengthen’s Time Warner Telecom’s ability to compete nationally in the business market, according to the press release.

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