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Lucent, SBC Ink $1 Billion Deal

Lucent and SBC Communications Thursday inked a deal valued at $1 billion. Designated as SBC's primary provider of data, voice and access infrastructure, Lucent is charged with bringing voice and data services to SBC's customers nationwide.

"We are looking to Lucent to provide the key networking infrastructure to build a next-generation, reliable and cost-effective network that exceeds our customers' expectations," said Ron Blake, president of SBC Telecom Inc.

"Lucent's technological innovations and capabilities in the areas of data networking technology will enable us to offer next-generation services quickly as we continue to enter these markets," Blake added.

Lucent plans to incorporate its 7R/E Packet Solutions in advancing SBC's infrastructure technology. SBC will also implement Lucent's GX 550 and CBX 500 Multiservice WAN switches and its AnyMedia platform, a next-generation digital loop carrier that can provide regular telephone service as well as high-speed DSL service.

The five-year contract with Lucent is part of San Antonio, Texas-based SBC's long-term plan to enter 30 new markets and evolve its network to a full packet network in the near future.

The contract covers SBC's nationwide entry into 30 markets outside its traditional service areas. The company already has established sales and operations activities in Baltimore, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, New York, Seattle and Washington, D.C., with full service to begin this fall.

"Today's agreement is another major step toward being able to offer our customers a one-stop, full-service communications alternative," said Blake.

SBC will enter nine new markets this year and 21 next year, providing local, long-distance, Internet and high-speed data services to businesses and consumers.

"The addition of the 30 markets will bring SBC to 50 of the largest markets in the U.S.," noted Ed Presberg, SBC spokesperson. "When SBC completes its expansion, it will offer service nationwide in markets that reach 180 million people."

This is the first time a former Bell operating company is competing for local business and residential customers on a national scale, according to Tom Hilton, sales vice president for Lucent.

"SBC is aggressively moving forward with plans to introduce a new level of competition in major markets nationwide," he said. "As a primary supplier for SBC's national expansion, we're proud to be a part of this historic telecommunications milestone that will enable SBC to expand and offer a full suite of telecommunications services to customers across the country."

In related news, Lucent also announced that Brazil's Eletronet has selected Lucent to provide $180 million of optical networking equipment for one of the largest and most advanced optical networks in Latin America.