<% @ Language=VBScript %>BellSouth/Sprint Network Deal
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BellSouth/Sprint Network Deal

October 10, 2005

Determined not to be left in the figurative dust of its brethren RBOCs, BellSouth Corp. announced on Monday that it has entered into an agreement with Sprint Nextel Corp. to provide MPLS data services to businesses nationwide.

BellSouth said that its service, which is expected to launch sometime during the first quarter of 2006, will link multi-location businesses to its private IP network backbone in the southeastern United States and with Sprint's MPLS network located in other regions.

With fellow RBOCs SBC and Verizon closing in on receiving final approval for their respective proposed mega mergers (SBC with AT&T, Verizon with MCI), BellSouth had to do something to hold on to its customer base and to remain competitive in the future.

"The bottom line is that we want to be the premier data provider for the customers we serve," BellSouth spokesperson Todd Smith told TMCnet. "[BellSouth's customers] want to use our data network beyond the borders of our traditional region . . . It also allows us to compete as well as any of the national providers in the data space . . . especially the enterprise space."

Telecom industry analyst Jeff Kagan agrees.

"This new nationwide MPLS data service will immediately increase BellSouth's addressable customer base and will strategically position them to more effectively attract and retain large business customers," Kagan said in a statement.

Now that BellSouth, SBC and Verizon have their partners lined up, all eyes turn to the remaining RBOC, Qwest, to see what, if anything, it will do to remain competitive. With its failed bid to acquire MCI, Qwest made its intention known that it is looking to strengthen its position as a national communications service provider.

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