NEW YORK - With more than 10 million customers in 47 states, Verizon has passed Sprint to become the third largest long-distance provider in the U.S., according to independent surveys of long-distance customers.
"Less than three years after our first FCC approval to provide long-distance service, our innovative marketing and top-notch service have lifted Verizon to the top tier of long-distance companies," said Lawrence T. Babbio, vice chairman and president of Verizon.
"We have every intention of continuing to grow by offering several long-distance calling plans, including prepaid plans and international discount plans, and in some areas bundling these with local, regional toll, Internet access and wireless plans to deliver great value at great prices," Babbio said.
In remarks delivered today at a Salomon Smith Barney analyst conference, Babbio said Verizon now has well over 10 million long-distance customers and, according to surveys by the Yankee Group and TNS Telecoms, Verizon is now the third largest provider of home long-distance service behind AT&T and MCI/WorldCom.
The Yankee Group's Technologically Advanced Family (TAF®) Survey conducted in the third quarter of 2002 revealed that of families that used the services of a long-distance company, 7.6 percent named Verizon as their provider.
In similar research by TNS Telecoms, nearly 11 percent of households with long-distance charges reported that they use Verizon. TNS Telecoms research is based on its ongoing industry tracking and analysis of actual customer bills from across the U.S. TNS Telecoms provides syndicated telecommunications market information to the telecommunications industry. TNS Telecoms collects responses to its ReQuest® consumer survey from over 120,000 households each year and, through Bill Harvesting, 32,000 of those households provide their complete set of telecommunications bills, promotional bill inserts and direct mail communications.
According to Babbio, Verizon's strategy has been to use long-distance service as a linchpin in its approach to the consumer market, developing packages of various combinations of services that usually start with the natural bundle of local, regional and long-distance calling services. The company plans to roll out these bundles under the "Veriations" product family name, and was the first to introduce a fully-integrated bundle of local, regional, long distance, DSL (digital subscriber line) and wireless services in northeast states.
"Before we arrived, others in the long-distance market relied on per-minute, gas-war pricing in order to grow," Babbio said. "Our strategy was to bypass the price wars and instead keep long-distance simple for customers. We kept the fine print to a minimum and included fees and charges in the prices when we could.
"It paid off, and we have captured a major share of the market in the states where we first won government approval to provide long-distance. Those numbers continue to grow as our Veriations packages are introduced," he said.
The company's Retail Markets Group will continue to leverage customer interest in packages of services both to give customers what they want and to keep customers loyal to Verizon in a harshly competitive market. With some Veriations packages, customers can save as much as 30 percent or more.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.0 million access line equivalents and 31.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and more than 236,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 35 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.