DENVER?January 25, 1999 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. today announced its first Internet services for consumers and small businesses. Called Q.home(sm) Internet Service, web-based services including dial-up access, paging, conferencing and faxing are available at Qwest?s new site ? www.qwest.com.
Through a series of aggressive acquisitions and alliances in less than six months, Qwest Communications has gained the ability to provide Internet Protocol (IP)-based services to 95 percent of U.S. homes and businesses. With completion of Qwest?s 18,500-mile, high-speed network on target for mid-year in 1999, Qwest is now focused on expanding its leadership to help businesses and consumers take advantage of the convergence of multimedia. Agreements with other leading Internet and communications businesses will help customers reach the Qwest network through a variety of connection options including dedicated, broadband and dial-up access.
Qwest is changing its Internt. While the .net name distinguishes Qwest among a select group of firms with an IP-based network, the .com identifier makes it easier to recognize the role Qwest has in Internet services.
"From the beginning, Qwest built its world class network to be optimized for the Internet and to help drive the convergence of image, data and voice communications," said Joseph P. Nacchio, Qwest president and CEO. "With experts predicting 28 million households and two million businesses will be online by the end of this year, Qwest intends to seize the enormous market opportunity and provide businesses and consumers with fast, reliable and secure Internet applications and benefits."
The new consumer Internet offerings are:
- Q.home Internet Access ? dial-up Internet access with nationwide coverage. The service will be offered with the first month free and at a flat monthly rate of $19.95. Those who also subscribe to Qwest long distance service may receive the Internet service for a reduced flat rate of $14.95 monthly. Rates include unlimited Internet access, e-mail and news. A Netscape CD will be provided for customers to load software for the Internet and Qwest services. To order the service, customers can complete an online order form to receive a start-up kit in the mail, or call 1-888-328-6162.
- Q.home Send-A-Page - is a web-based paging service that allows customers to send text or numeric pages to other subscribers of Qwest paging service. The easy to use online service is free to all Qwest paging customers. In order to send a page from the site, users simply enter the Qwest customer?s paging PIN, type the desired message and hit send. Additionally, customers wishing to order Qwest?s paging service can now do so by filling out an online order form or by calling 1-877-323-3100. Qwest paging service is competitively priced and offers a range of pager models and service options including text and numeric service. It includes free voicemail and unlimited pages within the customer?s local coverage area. New customers ordering the service will receive a half price discount on their monthly service fee for the first two months of service.
- Q.home Click-to-Conference ? allows any consumer to conduct conference calls with a total of eight people at one time. This service will be available beginning on February 5, 1999 and offers customers an easy way to conduct conference calls. There is no need to deal with operators, codes or advance scheduling. A flat rate of 25-cents per minute for each line is charged for domestic calls. International rates vary. Customers can call anyone within the U.S. at any time with no additional conference call charges, no minimums and no one-time or hidden fees. Additional features include the ability to put anyone on the call on hold, on mute, or disconnect any call from your browser. Also, customers have instant access to their conference callpartner in developing Qwest?s conferencing service is TimeShift,Inc.
- Q.home Click-to-Fax ? is an online service that lets customers fax information both domestically and internationally using only a browser and an Internet connection. Sending a fax through the fax center is as simple as sending an e-mail. A minimum monthly cost of $2.95 covers the first 19 pages. Additional pages sent throughout the month are only 15-cents each. Customers can be assured that the content in their faxes will remain confidential as they are sent over the Internet in a secure manner. Using the fax center benefits the consumer in cost savings and convenience. Additionally, it is easy to use because files can be attached to the fax directly from the user?s hard drive. No investment in hardware or software is needed and documents can be sent to multiple fax machines with a single click. Qwest?s technology partner in developing Qwest Fax Center is Technology Workshop.
Currently Qwest?s comprehensive portfolio of IP-based services include:
Business Services Consumer Services
Dedicated InternetDial-up Internet access
Web hostingClick-to-conference (available 2/5/99)
Virtual private data networks Click-to-fax
The strategic acquisitions and alliances during the past six months that pose Qwest as a major new competitor in Internet services and provide new channels to reach customers include:
- Microsoft - Developed a relationship with Microsoft to create advanced applications such as complex web hosting and electronic commerce. Agreement also provides access to 88,000 distribution points selling Microsoft products today and revenue potential of more than $3 billion over five years.
- Covad ? Invested in Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) local networks through an agreement with Covad Communications Group, Inc. a packet-based Competitive Local Exchange Carrier that provides DSL communications services to Internet Service Providers (ISP) and enterprises. By the end of 1999, Qwest plans to have access in 22 key metropolitan markets. DSL enhances Qwest?s ability to provide customers with high-speed, end-to-end connectivity to its nationwide IP-based network and the Internet.
- Icon CMT - Acquired Icon CMT, the tier-one provider of end-to-end Internet solutions for businesses. Now operating as Qwest Internet Solutions, the division is responsible for deploying Qwest?s CyberCenters, which will produce and host web-enabling applications and IP-centric enterprise solutions. Icon CMT is a network backbone provider for a number of leading multinational companies in the financial services, media and telecommunications fields including Fleet Securities, CBS, Network Solutions and Bell Atlantic Internet Solutions (BAIS). As a result of its global service provider agreement with BAIS, Icon CMT services BAIS customers who have selected Icon CMT to provide the long-distance portion of the Internet access services for both dedicated and switched access services.
- Netscape ? Established a strategic alliance to be the provider of basic and advanced communications services at the Netscape Netcenter site. The agreement combines Qwest?s network and services with Netscape?s leading Netcenter services, browser software and server software. The alliance is expected to provide Netscape and Qwest with significant customer acquisition and revenue-sharing opportunities.
- Internet2 - Working with industry partners, Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks, Qwest donated a portion of its nationwide network to enable the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID) - a consortium of 130 top U.S. universities - to deploy the most advanced and farthest reaching research network in the world - Internet2?s Abilene backbone network. The Abilene network provides a "private Internet" for the brightest minds in academia, education and corporate entities to imagine, create and test the applications of the future. Qwest is also the backbone provider for regional Internet2 networks, such as California's CalREN2 network and the Midwest's Great Plains Network.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NASDAQ: QWST) is a leader in rt-based data, voice and image communications for businesses and customers. Headquartered in Denver, Qwest has more than 8,000 employees and 80 sales offices in North America, Europe and Mexico. The Qwest Macro Capacity (SM) Fiber Network, designed with the newest optical networking, will span more than 18,500 route miles in the United States when it is completed in mid-1999. Qwest also has a pan-European venture with KPN, the Dutch telecommunications company, to build and operate a high-capacity fiber optic, Internet Protocol-based network that covers 2,100 miles and will span 9,100 miles when it is completed by 2002. Qwest also has nearly completed a 1,500-mile network in Mexico.
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This release may contain 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 Qwest with the SEC, 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 potential fluctuations in quarterly results, dependence on new product development, rapid technological and market change, failure to complete the network on schedule and on budget, financial risk management and future growth subject to risks, Qwest?s ability to achieve Year 2000 compliance, adverse changes in the regulatory or legislative environment, and satisfactory negotiation and execution of definitive documentation.
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