Jackson, MI, June 8, 1998 (DLD Digest) - WorldCom, Inc., (Nasdaq: WCOM) announced this week it has forged new territory as the first of the major interexchange carriers to offer nationwide local telephone service for resale by carriers and resellers. WorldCom made the announcement at the TRA trade show in San Francisco. The passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 accelerated local service competition. WorldCom was the first telecommunications company to effectively enter the retail local market in direct competition with the monopoly Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) and GTE. "Entering the wholesale local market underscores WorldCom's end-to-end network advantage," said Bernard J. Ebbers, WorldCom president and chief executive officer. "We're staking our claim as a truly full service provider for our wholesale customers -- offering long distance, Internet, and now, local service from one carrier. "WorldCom's recognition of the success of resellers in bringing competitive benefits to customers within two years of the signing of the Telecommunications Act is indicative of WorldCom's 15-year history of serving the wholesale market." Initially, local switched and private line service will be offered in selected U.S. cities where WorldCom has local facilities. Beta testing in these cities has begun. Service will be available in all domestic locations where WorldCom owns local facilities during 1999. UniDial Communications, a privately-held telecommunications company based in Louisville, Ky., will be WorldCom's first beta customer for local service. "We're very excited about expanding our relationship with WorldCom," said J. Sherman Henderson III, president and CEO of UniDial. "Innovative and committed partners such as WorldCom have helped UniDial grow. As WorldCom's first local service beta customer, we believe we have enhanced our ability to offer a more complete bundle of telecommunications services." Because WorldCom is using its own local facilities, the company will control calls end-to-end, maintaining the highest quality of transmission. This product is targeted toward wholesale customers. Resellers and other long distance carriers will be able to purchase facility-based local service from WorldCom to sell to end users. "Our 500-plus carrier and reseller customers have been asking us to provide this service. They recognize WorldCom as the only facilities-based carrier which could provide this service in a cost-effective manner and with the depth of back office support for which WorldCom is known," said John W. Barnett, president of WorldCom Wholesale Services. WorldCom local services will offer the same simple billing and ordering, rapid provisioning, and dedicated customer support as its long distance service, but more importantly, will offer nationwide local service from one carrier. Adding local service to its already wide array of products and services allows WorldCom's wholesale customers the ability to provide a single telephone bill, containing both local and long distance charges for customers. This service reflects WorldCom's responsiveness to customer requests for a single bill, allowing its wholesale customers to remain competitive and grow the wholesale market. WorldCom (Nasdaq: WCOM) is a global telecommunications company with 1997 annual revenues of $7.5 billion. Operating in more than 50 countries, the company is a premier provider of facilities-based and fully integrated local, long distance, and international voice and data services.