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WorldCom Takes First Step to Recovery
Posted: 05-Aug-2002 [Source: Washngton Post]

[Bankruptcy bailout provides bargain basement price for wireless companies taking on World Com's former subscribers.]

by Jerry Knight -- "As the first step toward keeping itself afloat in the treacherous waters of bankruptcy, WorldCom Inc. is about to throw almost 2 million customers overboard.

Letters are going out now, telling everybody who gets mobile phone service through WorldCom and MCI that they have a new phone company -- it could be Verizon Wireless, Cingular Wireless, AT&T Wireless, Alcatel or Sprint PCS.

If you want to keep your cellular phone number, the letter advises, sign up with the new company. If you had a long-term contract with WorldCom Wireless, you can walk away from it without paying a penalty.

Bailing out of the mobile phone business could save WorldCom $700 million a year, which is how much money WorldCom Wireless lost in 2001. That should be a pretty good start toward eliminating the losses that dragged the company into a risky attempt to reorganize its finances under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code.

The company's decision to give up on the mobile phone business says as much about the ailments of that whole industry as it does about what went wrong at WorldCom.

The companies that are taking over WorldCom's customers are paying next to nothing for them. Though neither company will confirm it, one report is that Cingular is paying WorldCom $30 a head for the customers it would gain."

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