Rent-A-Center Signs $34 Million Agreement for Verizon Business to Modernize Company's North American Network

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - Rent-A-Center, the largest rent-to-own operator in the United States, is transforming many of its business operations by tapping the power of an Internet protocol (IP) network provided by Verizon Business under a new three-year, $34 million agreement.

The Private IP network enables Rent-A-Center - which leases furniture, consumer electronics and other appliances, with an option to buy them - to standardize delivery of a wide range of internal business applications to the company's more than 19,000 employees across more than 3,000 retail locations in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.  The new MPLS-based network also powers Rent-A-Center's in-store employment kiosks, as well as the company's Web-based management training program.  The company previously employed network access from multiple service providers.

"IP is helping Rent-A-Center transform business operations in many ways," said Robert Rapp, the company's chief technology officer.  "IP is driving improved efficiency and the ability to reliably deliver applications ubiquitously to all of our branch locations, using a single platform.  With a strong network foundation in place, Rent-A-Center is now focusing on new initiatives that will further enhance our productivity and enable the company and its employees to better serve our customers."

In addition to streamlining network management, the new IP-based infrastructure helps enhance Rent-A-Center's in-house network security and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance programs by reducing the number of access points and consolidating data onto a single platform, making it easier to secure, analyze and store information.  The PCI DSS, established by the PCI Security Standards Council, is a set of comprehensive requirements for enhancing payment account data security.

Verizon Business professional consultants worked closely with Rent-A-Center staff to design a highly reliable and secure network for the retailer's thousands of store locations.  Verizon Business project management staff then coordinated onsite deployment activities and seamlessly transitioned 3,000 Rent-A-Center retail locations.

"The success of this project underscores the close working relationship between Rent-A-Center and Verizon Business that has developed over the years," said Stephen P. Young, Verizon Business senior vice president for corporate and government sales.  "This kind of partnership highlights the benefits Verizon Business delivers - a solution that's highly available, flexible and backed by world-class networking assets, leading technical knowledge and superior professional services capabilities."

Rent-A-Center is also outsourcing to Verizon Business day-to-day monitoring management and maintenance of its IP PBX voice system and the wide- and local-area networks serving the company's corporate headquarters.  This frees up Rent-A-Center's technical staff to focus on supporting its mission-critical applications for human resource, enterprise resource planning and financial functions, while providing 24-by-7 support for the company's communications infrastructure.

Verizon Business offers a broad portfolio of IP-based services to enable companies to meet business objectives and manage complex networks and critical applications.  Verizon Business' comprehensive offerings, available on a managed or do-it-yourself basis, can be combined to create effective solutions to fulfill the requirements of enterprises of any size, in any industry.

About Rent-A-Center
Rent-A-Center, Inc., headquartered in Plano, Texas, currently operates approximately 3,049 company-owned stores nationwide and in Canada and Puerto Rico. The stores generally offer high-quality, durable goods such as major consumer electronics, appliances, computers and furniture and accessories under flexible rental purchase agreements that generally allow the customer to obtain ownership of the merchandise at the conclusion of an agreed upon rental period. ColorTyme, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Rent-A-Center, is a national franchiser of approximately 215 rent-to-own stores operating under the trade name of "ColorTyme."

About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), operates the world's most connected public IP network and uses its industry-leading global-network capabilities to offer large-business and government customers an unmatched combination of security, reliability and speed.  The company integrates advanced IP communications and information technology (IT) products and services to deliver leading enterprise solutions including managed services, security, mobility, collaboration and professional services.  These solutions power innovation and enable the company's customers to do business better. For more information, visit www.verizonbusiness.com.