YOU ARE AT:Archived ArticlesSBC INTENDS TO BUNDLE CELLULAR WITH ITS LANDLINE SERVICE IN N.Y.

SBC INTENDS TO BUNDLE CELLULAR WITH ITS LANDLINE SERVICE IN N.Y.

SBC Communications Inc. intends to offer wireline telephone service in the five cellular markets it owns in New York, but is keeping quiet about how it plans to deliver the service.

The company said it will reveal more specific details within the next three months. “This is part of an evolution, and offers the promise of one company concerned about the customer’s needs,” said SBC spokesman Dave Senay. “It’s a matter of simplicity for the customer and ease of use.”

SBC said it is the first Bell company to bundle cellular and landline service. Currently, regional Bell operating companies are required by the Federal Communications Commission to market, sell and bill cellular and landline services separately.

However, SBC received a waiver from the FCC to offer local phone service in New York state only, and only in SBC’s cellular markets. The move also was approved by the New York Public Service Commission. SBC, through affiliate SBMS New York Services Inc., will file tariffs early next year outlining exactly how local service will be offered.

Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems is the nation’s second largest wireless operator. Its New York network stretches across the northern portion of the state, serving the cities of Rochester, Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, Ithaca, Watertown, Utica and Glens Falls.

By providing landline as well as cellular service, consumers will be able to purchase both telecom products from one source-the “one-stop shopping” marketing campaign of the mid-1990s.

SBC won’t say how it will offer local landline service in New York, an area dominated by regional Bell operating company Nynex Corp. Southwestern Bell Telephone Co.’s local network operates in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas.

One option for SBC in New York is to resell service from Nynex. A Nynex spokesman said the company expects to begin reselling service to other companies in the near future. “There’s quite a bit of competition in New York already, so down the line we will be selling our services,” said Nynex spokesman John Bonomo.

Other Bellcos don’t seem to be as quick to combine their cellular and landline offerings, but undoubtedly will be watching SBC’s strategy.

BellSouth Corp. said it isn’t seeking FCC permission to provide landline service in the numerous cellular markets it has outside of its nine-state landline region. “We haven’t made a determination to do that, although we will study what SBC has won,” said BellSouth spokesman Kevin Doyle. “Most of our attention is focused on asking the FCC for the right to sell cellular (with landline) in the local service region. It would give us great synergies to sell both services together, and eliminate duplication of sales forces.”

U S West NewVector Group Inc. doesn’t have cellular holdings outside of its 14-state region since it traded its San Diego license to GTE Corp. in exchange for GTE assets; that was done early this year so U S West could begin merging its cellular properties with those of AirTouch Communications Inc.

AirTouch, formerly a part of RBOC Pacific Telesis, holds cellular properties in the south and southwestern United States as well as California, but said it has no interest in bundling landline service into its offerings.

AirTouch was created when PacTel spun off its cellular holdings, with the intention of creating a wireless company outside of RBOC restrictions.

Bell Atlantic Nynex Mobile has several cellular properties in the Carolinas, but has not expressed an interest in offering landline service in those markets. Ameritech Cellular Services only holds one cellular market outside of its five-state region.

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