has won a multi-million-dollar networking contract from national sneaker seller The Finish Line, an AT&T official confirmed.
The three-year deal involves linking the sneaker seller’s Indianapolis headquarters and more than 500 mall stores into AT&T Business Network.
Winning network services deals from customers like The Finish Line is crucial for AT&T. The Bedminster, N.J., company is coming off its 15th consecutive quarter of declining revenue as its consumer business suffers from competition from Baby Bells, cable companies and wireless providers.
And AT&T notched this customer win, its rival long distance provider WorldCom is expected to emerge from its historic bankruptcy (under the MCI name) in January with a much lighter debt load, which could put it in a stronger position to compete for national deals.
Besides the savings from consolidating services, The Finish Line will improve network reliability by shifting traffic to a high-speed, high-capacity fiber-optic ring that reroutes traffic around breaks and congestion in milliseconds.
Finish Line said dealing with multiple providers was becoming complicated and expensive.
AT&T was recently in merger talks with BellSouth
, however negotiations broke down last month.
Officials from both companies wouldn’t comment on “rumor and speculation,” but the Wall Street Journal reported that Atlanta-based BellSouth wasn’t willing to meet AT&T’s asking price of about $19 billion in cash and stock.