LightWave Bets on Bundles

Laurel, Md.-based LightWave Communications has finalized the sale of its carrier business and is launching residential and small business phone services to compete with Verizon Communications.

The sale of network assets and customer contracts to Looking Glass Networks, of Oak Brook, Ill., was announced in mid-November. The system, which ranges from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., was built over the past several years and provides.

It provides Looking Glass with the central offices and points-of-presence needed to extend its data services in Eastern Seaboard cities. The infrastructure also supports networked storage offerings.

Financial terms were not disclosed, however, Looking Glass expects the new network will add about $10 million a year in new revenues to its coffers.

“We built our carrier business in a tightly defined geography by providing a service that was available anywhere in the region we served,” said Dan Venedam, LightWave’s vice president of business development. “That market focus enabled us to win many loyal customers.”

Entering 2003, LightWave, which got its start in 1995 with financing from angel investors, is now focused on providing local and long distance phone services in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

“We’re committed to delivering choice, value and simplicity to customers who have never before had any of those options when it comes to local phone services,” said Mark Ricigliano, LightWave’s CEO.

To wrest customers away from Verizon, LightWave is trumpeting bundled local phone service with free long distance minutes and multiple calling features including call waiting, caller ID and three-way calling. A premium package allows unlimited local and long distance services, LightWave said.

Bundled services are emerging as a popular strategy among Baby Bells and smaller rivals alike. Providers hope to win or retain customers by offering savings as well as the convenience of a single bill and customer service contact number for a variety of services.

Recently, Verizon, SBC Communications and Covad have all rolled out bundled packages.

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