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SBC Grows Data, Wireless Services

The heart of SBC Communications Inc. positive second quarter performance beats through its expanding data communications and wireless operations.

SBC Thursday reported second-quarter revenues grew 9.8 percent to $13.2 billion. Diluted earnings per share before one-time items were 56 cents, compared with 55 cents a year ago.

SBC highlights of its otherwise flat second quarter report include growing its data revenue to $1.8 billion and gaining 537,000 new wireless customers.

Additionally, SBC reported that it fired-up a total of 198,000 new digital subscriber lines in the second quarter. The former "Baby Bell" currently supplies more than 399,000 total high-speed digital lines in its service area. The accomplishment means that SBC more than doubled the total digital subscriber lines it fired up in the first quarter.

Edward E. Whitacre Jr., SBC chairman and chief executive officer, said SBC continues to execute its business plan with passion and purpose.

"We are transforming SBC and its companies into a data-centric business capable of becoming the only communications source our customers will ever need," Whitacre said.

"We are very pleased that the areas we invested in to drive growth for SBC," Whitacre added. "Data and wireless, are producing strong results."

Strategic investments in a wireless joint venture with BellSouth Corp. and the combination of its Internet operations with Prodigy Communications Corp. provided SBC with a good grip on both service segments.

Whitacre said part of SBC's success in data and wireless services comes from its ability to pick good partners.

"Completing the Prodigy transaction was another significant milestone in SBC's strategy of becoming the premier provider of data communications and Internet services," Whitacre said. "Similarly, we're moving ahead rapidly toward completing our wireless joint venture later this year. The transaction will help make SBC an even stronger national leader in the wireless voice and data businesses."

SBC is making progress with Project Pronto, a $6 billion investment that is building remote transfer facilities to handle the increasing demand for DLS services. SBC's high-speed network currently passes nearly 15 million DSL-capable customers. By the end of the year, SBC projects that its network will achieve its goal of providing DSL services to potentially 18 locations.

While SBC's wireless initiative is primarily focused on cellular phone services, it is moving quickly to introduce Wireless Application Protocol services to deploy wireless Internet access to customers. SBC currently plans to launch WAP services in California by August.