DENVER, April 25, 2005 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) announced that it will file comments today at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), opposing approval of the pending merger of SBC and AT&T.
In what is possibly the most significant matter to come before the FCC since the divestiture of the Bell System, this merger would constitute a significant setback to federal and state policymakers? efforts to bring about competition in the telecommunications industry. This mega-merger would harm both retail and wholesale customers through higher prices, reduced service quality and less choice and innovation.
?The combination of SBC and AT&T as proposed would set our industry back years,? said Steve Davis, Qwest senior vice president of public policy. ?SBC proposes to acquire its largest competitor and greatest strategic threat. It is inconceivable that this transaction could be in the public interest without the imposition of significant conditions and required divestitures.?
To protect the public, it is essential that if the merger application is not denied outright, then the FCC must condition its approval, at a minimum, on significant divestitures of facilities and other related overlapping operations in SBC?s 13-state operating territory. In addition, because the proposed merged company will benefit from the elimination of AT&T as a competitor - and benefit from the elimination of other competitors? access to AT&T?s wholesale services and access facilities - other significant conditions must be imposed in order to attempt to level the playing field.
The proposed merger also threatens emerging competition from wireless, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and other broadband technologies.
Qwest has been an industry advocate in promoting competition. It is the only incumbent telecommunications provider to reach commercial wholesale agreements with both AT&T and MCI.
On April 14, Qwest filed a protest with the Public Utilities Commission of California opposing SBC?s merger with AT&T. California has an especially prominent role to play in the national debate given the large presence of SBC and AT&T, and early moves by SBC to gain approval of its transaction there.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leading provider of voice, video and data services. With more than 40,000 employees, Qwest is committed to the ?Spirit of Service? and providing world-class services that exceed customers? expectations for quality, value and reliability. For more information, please visit the Qwest Web site at www.qwest.com.
Forward Looking Statement Note
This release may contain projections and other forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These statements may differ materially from actual future events or results. Readers are referred to the documents filed by us with the Securities and Exchange Commission, specifically the most recent reports which identify important risk factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, including but not limited to: access line losses due to increased competition, including from technology substitution of our access lines with wireless and cable alternatives; our substantial indebtedness, and our inability to complete any efforts to de-lever our balance sheet through asset sales or other transactions; any adverse outcome of the current investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office in Denver into certain matters relating to us; adverse results of increased review and scrutiny by regulatory authorities, media and others (including any internal analyses) of financial reporting issues and practices or otherwise; rapid and significant changes in technology and markets; any adverse developments in commercial disputes or legal proceedings, including any adverse outcome of current or future legal proceedings related to matters that are the subject of governmental investigations, and, to the extent not covered by insurance, if any, our inability to satisfy any resulting obligations from funds available to us, if any; potential fluctuations in quarterly results; volatility of our stock price; intense competition in the markets in which we compete including the likelihood of certain of our competitors consolidating with other providers or otherwise reorganizing their capital structure to more effectively compete against us; changes in demand for our products and services; acceleration of the deployment of advanced new services, such as broadband data, wireless and video services, which could require substantial expenditure of financial and other resources in excess of contemplated levels; higher than anticipated employee levels, capital expenditures and operating expenses; adverse changes in the regulatory or legislative environment affecting our business; changes in the outcome of future events from the assumed outcome included in our significant accounting policies; our ability to utilize net operating losses in projected amounts; and our inability to provide any assurance as to whether we will be successful in our effort to acquire MCI, whether in the event of an acquisition we realize synergies in the amounts, at the times and at the related costs projected and whether regulatory approvals will be received within the timeframe projected and that such approvals will not be materially adverse to the projected operations of the combined company following the merger.
The information contained in this release is a statement of Qwest's present intention, belief or expectation and is based upon, among other things, the existing regulatory environment, industry conditions, market conditions and prices, the economy in general and Qwest's assumptions. Qwest may change its intention, belief or expectation, at any time and without notice, based upon any changes in such factors, in Qwest's assumptions or otherwise. The cautionary statements contained or referred to in this release should be considered in connection with any subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements that Qwest or persons acting on its behalf may issue. This release may include analysts' estimates and other information prepared by third parties for which Qwest assumes no responsibility.
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