WorldCom top choice of long distance providers

JACKSON, Miss. (September 20, 1995)-- WorldCom, Inc., through its wholesale and carrier service brand WilTel, is the carrier of choice among switchless and facilities-based long distance providers, according to a recent survey by Atlantic/ACM analyst group.

The survey showed WilTel's market share of the switchless reseller segment, one of the fastest-growing segments in long distance, exceeded the combined market share of the next two competitors, AT&T and Sprint. "As the report showed, WilTel is the dominant provider of services to both the facilities-based and switchless reseller markets," said Ron Harden, manager of wholesale marketing. "We've long been regarded as the 'carrier's carrier.' This report underscores our importance to this marketplace."

While there are hundreds of long distance companies in the U.S., there are only four nationwide fiber-optic networks. Most long distance providers lease capacity on these networks and resell the leased time to the consumer. While some of the companies install their own switches along the network (switched-based carriers) many of the long distance providers also lease the switch capacity (switchless resellers). In the report, the analyst group stated that among switchless resellers of long distance, 30 percent of the traffic was carried by WilTel. Sprint provided service to 14 percent of the resellers, while AT&T provided service to 13 percent of the resellers. MCI was the carrier for 9 percent of the resellers. The remaining capacity was supplied by regional carriers.

For facilities-based companies, WilTel was the choice of 21 percent of the providers, according to the survey. Some 16 percent of the carriers chose MCI while AT&T served 8 percent and Sprint served 4 percent of the market. The remaining capacity was supplied by numerous smaller regional carriers. Harden pointed out that one important aspect not addressed in the report is the continued growth in the reseller market, which reached $8.25 billion in 1994. "This market has been growing at a tremendous pace and there is every indication this growth will continue for some time to come. We're seeing that in the contracts we're signing with the carriers and resellers. They're demanding more and more capacity," Harden said.

WilTel recently announced two contracts with resellers totaling more than $1 billion. The agreements with National Telephone & Communications, valued at $600 million, and UniDial, at $480 million, are the two largest published reseller contracts in telecommunications history. In addition, WilTel recently announced it would begin to make WilPak frame relay service available to the carrier and reseller market. "Most of the growth in the wholesale market to this point has been through the resale of only voice services. Now, we're making data services available for the carriers and resellers to bring to potential customers," Harden said. "That means our customers can compete with even the biggest carrier for the larger data and voice contracts. At the same time, they're making data services more available to the smaller customers."

WorldCom, Inc., does business as LDDS WorldCom in the retail marketplace while addressing the wholesale market through its WilTel brand. One of the four largest long distance telecommunications companies in the United States, WorldCom, Inc., offers domestic and international voice, data and video products and services to business customers, other carriers and the residential market. It operates a nationwide digital fiber-optic network and has worldwide network capacity. The common shares of WorldCom, Inc., trade on The Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol WCOM.