Department Of Justice Clears BellSouth And SBC Communications Wireless Joint Venture
Companies enter consent decree to resolve wireless overlaps
Washington, District of Columbia - August 30, 2000 - The U.S. Department of Justice today gave its clearance to the wireless joint venture of SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) and BellSouth Corporation (NYSE: BLS). The Department's consent decree calls for the resolution of overlapping wireless properties, a process the companies have already begun. No other conditions were imposed on the joint venture.
"We are pleased with the Department of Justice's decision, which came after a thorough and comprehensive review. This approval is a major step towards the launch of a world-class national wireless company," said Stephen Carter president and CEO of the joint venture company.
In April, BellSouth and SBC announced plans to merge their domestic wireless operations to create the nation's second-largest wireless company, a powerful single entity jointly controlled by both companies, poised to compete nationwide in the exploding wireless voice and data businesses. The new company will serve more than 18 million customers and 175 million potential customers in 34 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories.
The companies committed to address the competitive overlap issues when they announced the joint venture on April 5, 2000. The overlaps exist primarily in the Indianapolis, New Orleans and Los Angeles markets. SBC has previously announced plans to sell Indianapolis to AT&T and New Orleans to Alltel, and a decision on Los Angeles will be announced by December 18. The companies do not expect any problems in completing these divestitures within the time frames specified in the consent decree.
The joint venture will allow SBC and BellSouth to achieve the scale and scope to compete aggressively by offering customers everything from wireless Internet access and interactive messaging, to attractive national rate plans and bundles of other services. In addition, the joint venture will pursue opportunities to grow the business through further expansion of its national wireless network.
The proposed joint venture currently is under review by the Federal Communications Commission. The European Union has approved the proposed venture. It's anticipated the new company will receive all necessary approvals and begin operations later this year.
BellSouth (NYSE: BLS) is a $26 billion communications services company. It provides telecommunications, wireless and wireless long distance communications, Internet and data services, advertising and publishing, and video and entertainment services to 40 million customers in 18 countries worldwide. For more information about BellSouth, visit http://www.bellsouth.com/
SBC Communications Inc. is a global communications leader. Through its subsidiaries' trusted brands - Southwestern Bell, Ameritech, Pacific Bell, SBC Telecom, Nevada Bell, SNET and Cellular One - and world-class network, SBC's subsidiaries provide local and long-distance phone service, wireless and data communications, paging, high-speed Internet access and messaging, cable and satellite television, security services and telecommunications equipment, as well as directory advertising and publishing. In the United States, the company currently has 94.1 million voice grade equivalent lines, 11.7 million wireless customers and is undertaking a national expansion program that will bring SBC service to an additional 30 markets. Internationally, SBC has telecommunications investments in 22 countries. With more than 208,000 employees, SBC is the 13th-largest employer in the U.S., with annual revenues that rank it among the largest Fortune 500 companies.