DENVER, July 21, 2003 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) today announced that it has signed a strategic marketing agreement with EchoStar Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) and its DISH Network, the fastest growing satellite television provider. With this alliance, Qwest will make DISH Network satellite TV services available to its customers in single family homes in Colorado and Nebraska. The company expects to rollout these services to more markets throughout the remainder of 2003 and into 2004.
This joint marketing agreement represents the first step in the process to bundle video with Qwest?s other communications services. Additionally, Qwest and DISH Network are exploring ways to further enhance the relationship with next-generation services as well migrating to a more integrated model in the first half of 2004 where Qwest will be the primary interface for various customer interactions including service and billing.
Through Qwest, residential customers in these markets can now make one phone call to order competitively-priced local, long-distance, DSL, wireless and now television service. Beginning in early August, Qwest will introduce additional package savings allowing Qwest customers to enjoy all of the programming that DISH Network offers including access to hundreds of popular, all-digital television channels including news, movies, sports, international and high-definition TV programming.
?As a company, we are committed to working closely with DISH Network to develop a true one-stop shopping experience where Qwest customers will enjoy one bill, one number to call and one Web site to visit for all of their communications and programming needs,? said Richard C. Notebaert, Qwest chairman and CEO. ?Recent reports by J.D. Power and Associates show that between 2002 and 2003 an additional 10 million households chose to bundle their services. As a result, Qwest is aggressively working to provide its customers with these benefits, and today?s announcement brings us one step closer.?
?The availability of bundled services makes it easier than ever for consumers to take advantage of Qwest?s data and communications services and DISH Network?s all digital television, all with one phone call,? said Charles Ergen, EchoStar chairman and CEO. ?Our alliance with Qwest also opens new opportunities to expand our subscriber base while offering our customers an attractive alternative to bundled cable services.?
According to a 2002 Yankee Group survey, satellite providers scored significantly higher than cable across a broad range of criteria from overall satisfaction and value for the money to timely resolution of problems and customer service and support. Satellite TV customers enjoy 100 percent digital signals, which result in superior picture quality as well as greater channel selection in most cities ? particularly for sports, foreign language and international programming.
?It is becoming increasingly important for service providers to deliver a bundle of residential entertainment and communication services,? said Yankee Group Analyst Adi Kishore. ?Video is an important component of this bundle, and today Qwest has selected a partner that has regularly provided a high standard of customer service for multi-channel video services. Our research has shown that satellite has consistently outperformed cable across a range of customer satisfaction metrics.?
Qwest currently offers multi-channel video entertainment to approximately 64,000 customers through a variety of delivery options including very high-speed digital subscriber line (VDSL), satellite, and hybrid fiber-coaxial cable. With its first-hand knowledge of numerous multi-channel video delivery systems, Qwest is one of the most advanced providers in the U.S. with regard to its video deployments. The agreement with DISH Network further strengthens Qwest?s breadth of knowledge and experience in deploying video services. Backed by DISH Network?s advanced technology and commitment to service quality, Qwest is able to provide a premier customer experience and excellent customer value, while ensuring a seamless system and process set-up between itself and DISH Network.
EchoStar Communications Corporation and its DISH Network satellite TV system provide over 500 channels of digital video and CD-quality audio programming as well as advanced satellite TV receiver hardware and installation nationwide. EchoStar is a Fortune 500 company. Visit EchoStar?s Investor Relations website at www.echostar.com. DISH Network currently serves over 8.53 million customers in the United States. DISH Network is located on the Internet at www.dishnetwork.com.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leading provider of voice, video and data services to more than 25 million customers. The company?s 50,000 employees are 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.
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: unanticipated delays in completing the process of our restatement of historical financial statements and related audits; the duration and extent of the current economic downturn in our 14-state local service area, including its effect on our customers and suppliers; the effects of our anticipated restatement of historical financial statements including delays in or restrictions on our ability to access the capital markets or other adverse effects to our business and financial position; 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 SEC's current investigation into our accounting policies, practices and procedures and certain 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 Congress, regulatory authorities, media and others (including any internal analyses) of financial reporting issues and practices or otherwise; the failure of our chief executive and chief financial officers to provide certain certifications relating to certain public filings; delays in making required public filings with the SEC; 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; our future ability to provide interLATA services within our 14-state local service area; 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 emerging from bankruptcy court protection or otherwise reorganizing their capital structure and competing effectively against us; changes in demand for our products and services; 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; and changes in the outcome of future events from the assumed outcome included in our 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.
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