SBC Companies Deliver New, Simplified Phone Bill, Enhancements Reflect Recommendations From Customers

Customer-Friendly Design Features Quick Access To Key Billing Information, Added Protection Against "Slamming" And "Cramming"

San Antonio, Texas, October 12, 2004

SBC companies today unveiled a newly designed, customer-friendly monthly billing statement featuring a larger page size, a streamlined billing summary, and a concise listing of all service providers for added protection against potential incidents of fraud.

The new bill format will begin hitting the mailboxes of residential and business customers in the SBC Southwest region the next billing cycle. Instantly, customers will notice the larger size bill page and its bold, attention-grabbing colors strategically placed to highlight key billing information. The bill's restructured content layout will provide customers with comprehensive, snapshot summaries of important account information for quick and easy reference.

"This new design is another example of how the SBC family of companies is simplifying service for our residential and business customers," said Bill Blase, President and CEO of the SBC Southwest region. "Our customers asked for bills that make it easy to find the key billing information they need to know right away, and we delivered."

The new SBC bill format includes a new "Billing Summary" section on the first page, designed to help customers protect themselves against potential incidents of fraud. The section provides the names of each company billing for products and services, the monthly charges levied by those companies, and a toll-free service number for each provider, in the event customers have questions about services or charges.

In addition, the redesigned SBC bill will highlight new service providers added to the monthly bill to help customers quickly identify any changes in monthly service. This may be of particular interest to consumers as it may highlight potential unauthorized changes in service providers — slamming — and charges for products that were never ordered — cramming. Incidents of slamming and cramming by unauthorized providers are routinely reported to SBC companies throughout the service territory.

"The SBC family of companies has a long history of educating consumers about slamming and cramming and now we are stepping it up a notch," Blase said. "You won't have to thumb through the pages of your phone bill to determine who provides your service, or track down phone numbers to report suspicious charges — the information is conveniently listed on the first page, in one easy-to-read section."

SBC companies designed the new bill with the customer in mind. Following months of development, the company incorporated input it received from both residential and business customers who participated in surveys and focus groups.

Aesthetically speaking, the new design is generally considered more pleasing to the eye. In addition, by using 8½ by 11 inch size page, the bill can accommodate more information in fewer pages, shrinking the average number of pages in a monthly statement down to only two pages. Finally, some customers, such as business customers, may find the larger page more convenient for filing purposes.

The new SBC bill design and format will also be delivered to customers enrolled in SBC eBill, the online billing program used by many of the SBC family of companies. Online bills from SBC companies will now feature the same front-page layout, key billing information, and will provide links to additional details, listings, and explanations of charges. The SBC eBill is available to most consumers, and in many cases, SBC small business customers, based on the amount of bill content.