DENVER, February 12, 2002 - Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) said that its new option to protect customers against local service slamming is pro-consumer and a response to requests from customers and policymakers. The new program allows customers to protect their account, at no charge, preventing the switching of their local service provider without their permission.
Policymakers in Colorado, Washington and Utah have required Qwest to offer customers the option of protecting their local service account, and Qwest is offering the program to customers in 10 states in its local service region. Despite strong interest from policymakers and consumer advocates in this program, AT&T recently issued a press statement attacking Qwest's motives.
"AT&T wins the gold medal when it comes to disdain for customers," said Steve Davis, Qwest senior vice president of policy and law. "First they increase cable rates on all their captive customers, then they raise long-distance rates by 20 percent, and now they criticize a free option Qwest offers to protect customers from local service slamming."
The protection does not prohibit customers from making voluntary changes to their service or telecommunications provider at any time. As competition for local telephone service increases across the country, local telephone service slamming is becoming an increasing problem. If a customer wishes to either implement or remove the protection they can contact Qwest directly. The requirement for direct notification from the customer helps to prevent slamming by a third-party telecommunications provider or agent. Qwest has delayed the program in several states to give regulators additional time to review it.
"The local service account protection is a direct response to the requests of our customers and from regulators and other key policymakers," said Davis. "This option has proven to reduce slamming in the long-distance market, and we are confident that it will help to prevent slamming in the local market as well."
Qwest has implemented one of the most aggressive anti-long-distance slamming programs in the industry and has invested millions of dollars in the program. As part of its anti-slamming program, Qwest has a team dedicated exclusively to enforcing the company's zero-tolerance policy. In addition to the internal team, Qwest has hired an independent auditor to conduct annual examinations of the company's anti-slamming reporting processes, tracking mechanisms and all enforcement procedures.
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(r) 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 risks and uncertainties. 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, 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: 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; the duration and extent of the current economic downturn, including its effect on our customers and suppliers; 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; rapid and significant changes in technology and markets; adverse changes in the regulatory or legislative environment affecting our business, delays in our ability to provide interLATA services within our 14-state local service area; failure to maintain rights-of-way; and 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. This release may include analysts' estimates and other information prepared by third parties for which we assume no responsibility. We undertake 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.
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