Prodigy, SBC Launch Joint Marketing Effort

In the first indication of how telecom player SBC Communications Inc.‘s big investment in Prodigy Communications Corp. will shake out on the marketing front, the two companies on Friday unveiled a joint marketing initiative.

The two companies plan to distribute Prodigy Internet access CDs at more than 250 of SBC’s wireless retail stores and authorized agents. Prodigy will be the exclusive ISP offered and promoted through the Pacific Bell Wireless and Southwestern Bell Wireless retail outlets.

In addition the companies will work together to give Prodigy customers access to information with SBC Wireless’ data services.

The joint marketing agreement is one of the first manifestations of a deal the two companies cut back in November 1999. SBC took a 48 percent equity stake in Prodigy, and the firms agreed to join their consumer and small business Internet operations. The idea was to position SBC and Prodigy to become a leading provider of DSL broadband Internet access, and further fuel both companies growth.

“This agreement represents the synergies that Prodigy and SBC will achieve under our new alliance to showcase and cross sell both companies’ products and services,” said Prodigy president and chief executive officer, Charles Roesslein.

“Retail outlets are an important distribution channel for Prodigy, with the majority of our subscriber enrollment in 1999 coming from retail. Therefore, we continually look for ways to grow our retail presence.”

Other Internet service providers have found retail outlets an important distribution channel, as well. America Online has struck deals with everyone from Kinko‘s and Office Depot to Six Flags theme parks.

The Prodigy Internet CDs will be marketed and distributed under the “Prodigy with SBC” brand name, and people will receive one of these CDs with any cellular-related purchase. The free CD will offer a Prodigy Internet introductory offer of three months of Internet service for $9.95 per month. Consumers then are automatically enrolled in Prodigy Internet at $19.95 per month after the three-month period.

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