DENVER, April 15, 2002 - Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), today issued a study by a well-known consumer advocate Ron Binz documenting customer benefits once Qwest re-enters the long-distance business. ?The Binz Report? finds that Qwest has sharply improved retail and wholesale service quality and has acted more aggressively to open its markets to competitors than other incumbent phone companies. The report concludes that policy makers should move quickly to endorse Qwest?s long distance entry once legal and technical requirements are met.
?The Binz report confirms what we have been saying all along,? said Steve Davis, Qwest senior vice president of policy and law. ?We are a different kind of company, and customers will see real savings, more choices, and the convenience of a single bill, once Qwest re-enters the long-distance market.?
Ron Binz, author of the study funded by Qwest, is a telecommunications industry analyst and former director of the Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel, the state's utility consumer advocate. Binz frequently testifies in regulatory hearings on behalf of consumers. As the former president of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA), he testified before Congress on more than a dozen occasions. Binz is also president of the Competition Policy Institute (CPI), a Washington, D.C. based non-profit organization focused on bringing competition to the telecommunications sector.
Binz noted that Qwest?s actions create a favorable attitude toward competition and competitors, often breaking ranks with other incumbent local companies. Qwest?s positions on recent FCC issues such as collocation policies, along with its decision to terminate its membership in the United States Telecommunications Association are cited as evidence of the policy shift, which Binz attributes to the influence of the company?s out-of-region competitive lines of business.
Binz noted that the most recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports show the level of competition in Qwest-served states exceeds the national average. His report cites several Qwest states as examples of robust competition, especially in less populated areas. Data show that, at the end of December 2001, local competitors had captured nearly 16 percent of all access lines in states where Qwest is a local provider.
The FCC reports market penetration by competitors in Iowa, Minnesota, Utah and Colorado is surpassed by only five other states, including New York and Texas, both of which have already received permission for the incumbent carrier to provide long-distance service.
?The experience in New York and Texas, the first two states in which the FCC approved long-distance applications, shows consumers benefit greatly from competition,? said Binz. ?That translates to better service and lower prices.?
Binz determined customers have more choices for both local and long-distance service when the local telephone company is allowed in the long-distance business. In addition to more choice, consumers will be able obtain all their telecommunications services from a single company.
Binz?s analysis is consistent with that of other consumer interest organizations, including TRAC, and Consumer Action. Consumer Action, an independent consumer non-profit organization, found that long-distance rates are increasing everywhere except in states where the local telephone provider has been approved to offer competitive long-distance services, such as Texas and New York. The study found that consumers in these states were offered rates for basic service plans that were up to 66 percent lower than the big long-distance companies? plans.
Additionally, Qwest?s long-distance re-entry will save customers throughout its local service territory more than $1 billion annually, or approximately $70 to $170 per residential customer, according to a study by Professor Jerry A. Hausman, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Telecommunications Economics Research Program.
Also included in Binz?s 83-page analysis:
- Qwest has made progress in improving retail and wholesale service quality since acquiring US WEST.
- Competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) give Qwest high marks for its flexibility and willingness to work with competitors.
- Qwest is positively distinguishing itself from Verizon, SBC and BellSouth, in its positions on competition issues.
Qwest is making significant progress toward receiving federal approval to re-enter the long-distance market. Qwest has completed a critical and comprehensive systems test in Arizona as well as a similar comprehensive systems test covering its 13 other local service states. Qwest expects to file its first application with the FCC within weeks.
Qwest has improved customer service for seven consecutive quarters. A report by the FCC found that Qwest leads the industry in service quality. In December 2001, the FCC issued its "Quality of Service of the Local Operating Companies" report, which showed that Qwest was first among the major local service providers in four of the seven critical customer service categories measured by the FCC and that Qwest improved in six of the seven.
When Qwest acquired U S WEST, the company had to divest itself of its long-distance operations in the 14 western states where U S WEST provided local service. Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Qwest can re-enter the long-distance business once its application to the FCC has been approved.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leader in reliable, scalable and secure broadband data, voice and image communications for businesses and consumers. The Qwest Macro Capacity® Fiber Network, designed with the newest optical networking equipment for speed and efficiency, spans more than 190,000 miles globally. For more information, please visit the Qwest Web site at www.qwest.com.
This release may contain projections and other forward-looking statements that involve assumptions, risks and uncertainties. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these statements, which speak only as of the date of this release. These statements may differ materially from actual future events or results. Readers are referred to the documents filed by Qwest Communications International Inc. (together with its affiliates, ?Qwest?, ?we? or ?us?) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (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 but not limited to: the duration and extent of the current economic downturn in our 14-state local service area, including its effect on our customers and suppliers; any adverse outcome of the SEC?s current inquiries into Qwest?s accounting policies, practices and procedures; 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; failure to achieve the projected synergies and financial results expected to result from the acquisition of U S WEST, and difficulties in combining the operations of the combined company; our future ability to provide interLATA services within our 14-state local service area; potential fluctuations in quarterly results; volatility of Qwest?s stock price; intense competition in the markets in which we compete; changes in demand for our products and services; adverse economic conditions in the markets served by us or by companies in which we have substantial investments; dependence on new product development and 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; adverse developments in commercial disputes or legal proceedings; and changes in the outcome of future events from the assumed outcome included by Qwest in its significant accounting policies. 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. Qwest undertakes no obligation to review or confirm analysts? expectations or estimates or to release publicly any revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
The Qwest logo is a registered trademark of, and CyberCenter is a service mark of, Qwest Communications International Inc. in the U.S. and certain other countries.