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January 23, 2006

Verizon launches global enterprise business

Verizon yesterday launched its new global enterprise unit, called Verizon Business, with a marketing blitz and new product line in the US.

By CBR Staff Writer

The company is the result of the merger between Verizon Communications and former MCI Inc, and would serve existing customers that spend $250,000 or more annually, or new customers with 300 or more employees.

Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based Verizon gained its first global presence by acquiring MCI, which operates in 75 countries, including in Europe and the Asia Pacific regions.

The freshly minted company announced yesterday a bunch of integrated wireless and wired networks products, which promise to take the best features from Verizon and former MCI.

We have the broadest product portfolio of any provider, said John Killian, president of Verizon Business, on a conference call.

The new portfolio includes some MCI products that now have Verizon Wireless’ EV-DO broadband access capability. The integrated wireline/wireless products are currently available only in the US, but the company plans to roll them out internationally as local conditions permit.

Wayne Huyard, exec VP of global sales and service for Verizon Business, said the company is focussed on a couple of areas internationally, including Europe, which he characterized as a sweet spot. We have billions of dollars in business in that area today and we are looking for . . . increased opportunities among those customers and winning more customers, Huyard said.

The bottom line is we’re committed to internationally like never before, we’re going to invest in international [business] and work to establish ourselves as a preeminent player there.

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Verizon Business also is working to make its broadband data service available nationwide in the US to ensure business continuity to its enterprise customers, in the event the landline network was knocked out.

During the next three months, the company will announce enhancements to existing services in the US, Huyard said without giving specifics.

The company had no new enterprise VoIP services to announce yesterday, but Briggs said the company aims to triple its capacity for VoIP this year.

Integration of Verizon and MCI’s voice networks has begun and data network integration likely would be finished by years’ end, said Fred Briggs, executive VP of network operations and technology at the company.

However, consolidating the two companies’ billings operations was a more daunting task, Briggs said. Billing is a challenge throughout the industry, he said.

By April, Verizon Business plans to have available a national summary statement, in which enterprise customers receive just one summary statement, by April, Briggs said. By October, the company plans to have common electronic billing for its customers. And by the end of 2007, there would be five strategic billing engines, Briggs said, including high-end, low-end and wholesale.

Verizon Business currently counts most large Fortune 500 companies as customers, as well as federal and state governments.

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