SBC: Freedomlink Wi-Fi Service to be Available in Wi-Fi-Enabled McDonald’s Restaurants Through Agreement With Wayport

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Howard Riefs

Deal dramatically expands company’s Wi-Fi footprint; SBC FreedomLink service now available in variety of venues, including airports, hotels, convention centers, restaurants, The UPS Store

MILWAUKEE, June 7, 2004 – SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) today announced an agreement with Wayport Inc. that will enable SBC FreedomLink customers to access Wi-Fi service in up to 6,000 McDonald’s restaurants by summer of 2005. The agreement will dramatically expand the SBC FreedomLink Wi-Fi network and further diversify the type of venues where FreedomLink high-speed wireless Internet access is available, crucial steps in driving demand and adoption of the service.

As Wayport deploys Wi-Fi in McDonald’s restaurants nationwide, the agreement will give SBC FreedomLink customers unlimited access to these Wi-Fi hot spots. Under the agreement, SBC Internet Services (“SBC”) companies will also provide high-speed business DSL Internet access to Wayport for backhaul transport at McDonald’s Wi-Fi restaurants located in the 13-state SBC territory.

McDonald’s Wi-Fi restaurants in the SBC service territory will have co-branded, in-store signage and materials identifying them as part of the FreedomLink Wi-Fi network. SBC companies will also participate in joint marketing activities in these restaurants and will work with McDonald’s to develop programs that incorporate Wi-Fi and DSL into people’s daily lives.

Adding thousands of McDonald’s Wi-Fi locations to the SBC FreedomLink network will make the service widely available and even more appealing to a broad cross-section of business professionals and consumers, including business travelers, mobile workers, college students, and the nearly 4 million SBC DSL customers. The FreedomLink service will enable these customers to use laptop computers and personal digital assistants to wirelessly connect to the Internet and corporate networks at speeds 50 to 100 times as fast as a dial-up connection.

“McDonald’s strong brand, convenient locations and commitment to Wi-Fi make their restaurants an ideal fit for our FreedomLink service,” said Ray Wilkins, president, SBC marketing and sales. “The agreement will help us create the industry’s most extensive Wi-Fi footprint, and illustrates how Wi-Fi provides us with a range of revenue-generating opportunities, including revenue from transport services such as DSL.“

“Wayport’s teaming agreement with SBC Internet Services is the first step in our Wi-Fi WorldTM strategy to drive the maximum number of customers to McDonald’s restaurants because of McDonald’s convenience, consistency, accessibility, quality, simplicity and brand,” said Dave Vucina, CEO of Wayport, “SBC FreedomLink customers will be able to take advantage of the world’s largest single deployment of Wi-Fi hot spots, which will be powered by Wayport.”

Monthly SBC FreedomLink memberships are available for $19.95 and provide unlimited access to all FreedomLink hot spots, including the McDonald’s restaurants. In addition to individual memberships, the SBC sales organization will offer monthly memberships in bulk to enterprise customers who wish to leverage the power of Wi-Fi to improve employee productivity. Later this year, FreedomLink will be bundled with SBC Yahoo! DSL and offered at a significant discount to SBC Yahoo! DSL subscribers, further enhancing the value and benefits of their broadband service.

FreedomLink high-speed wireless Internet access is a strategically significant service that further strengthens the SBC bundling strategy, generates incremental revenue and improves the company’s ability to attract and retain customers.

Today’s deal follows an SBC agreement announced in March 2004 that will make SBC FreedomLink service available at thousands of The UPS StoreTM locations in the United States. FreedomLink service will also be offered in domestic Mail Boxes Etc.® stores, which are part of the UPS retail network. Adding the FreedomLink service to the array of business services provided by The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. will enhance the stores’ roles as “branch offices” for the millions of mobile professionals who already rely on the centers for convenient access to business services such as printing, copying and shipping.

In addition to McDonald’s and The UPS Store locations, customers can currently access the FreedomLink service in venues such as airports, hotels, convention centers, restaurants, and even SBC Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.

The FreedomLink service is part of an integrated effort to meet customer demand for a comparable broadband experience in the home, office or on the road. To meet this goal, SBC companies plan to make available more than 20,000 Wi-Fi hot spots to FreedomLink customers over the next three years and work with Cingular Wireless to utilize Wi-Fi and Cingular’s wireless network to deliver unprecedented coverage that enables customers to enjoy a comparable broadband experience at home, in the office and on the road.

SBC companies are conditioning the market for the FreedomLink Wi-Fi service by driving adoption of private wireless LANs in enterprises and in the home. SBC companies are selling more than 3,000 home Wi-Fi gateways a day to SBC Yahoo! DSL customers who wish to set up a wireless LAN in their home.

Customers can view a list of FreedomLink locations and obtain ordering information by visiting


SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) is a Fortune 50 company whose subsidiaries, operating under the SBC brand, provide a full range of voice, data, networking, e-business, directory publishing and advertising, and related services to businesses, consumers and other telecommunications providers. SBC holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which serves more than 24 million wireless customers. SBC companies provide high-speed DSL Internet access lines to more American consumers than any other provider and are among the nation’s leading providers of Internet services. SBC companies also now offer satellite TV service. Additional information about SBC and SBC products and services is available at