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Qwest Calls On Netscape

Qwest Communications International Inc., today announced it reached an agreement with Netscape Communications Corp. to sell Qwest's phone services on Netscape's Netcenter site.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Under terms of the three-year agreement, potential Qwest customers will be able to sign up for telecommunications services on Netcenter, including long-distance, Internet access, and conference calling. Users can also check billing status and get messages through a combination mailbox that provides for voice, e-mail and faxes.

The companies said the first co-branded version of Netcenter will bundle Internet access provided by Qwest with Netcenter's content and services. Net access will be competitively priced, the companies said, and will offer a customized version of Netscape Communicator. The firms expect to launch long-distance and address-book services by the end of this month.

Qwest said customers who sign up on Netcenter will be charged 9 cents a minute to receive 24-hour long-distance services. The company will also offer high-volume customers another package, charging 5 cents a minute in addition to a $14.95 monthly fee.

The agreement also calls for Qwest to start carrying traffic for the Netcenter site on its Macro Capacity Fiber network, saying it will boost performance and bandwidth of Netcenter, at speeds up to 622 megabits per second. Another contract provision will allow Qwest's sales personnel to offer Netscape software to its customers.

Long-distance companies are increasingly using the Net to cut customer-associated costs and provide sales surges with customer gains. Qwest said that this agreement will enable it to slice customer acquisition related costs by as much as 60%.

Rival telco AT&T also e-tails its long-distance services on co-branded sites, including Lycos Online Powered By AT&T WorldNet, Infoseek Online Powered By AT&T WorldNet, and Excite Online Powered By AT&T WorldNet.

"Netscape and Qwest share the same vision and will create a one-stop integrated service that puts control into the hands of customers to manage all of their communications," said Jim Barksdale, president and chief executive officer at Netscape, in a statement.

"Our goal in combining the strengths of Netscape's Internet software and Netcenter services with Qwest's leading multimedia services and sophisticated fiber optic network is to provide consumers around the world with easy access to advanced, reliable and affordable global communications," Barksdale said.

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