IDC Says WorldCom Should Work to Preserve Sprint Brand Equity

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., October 12, 1999 — Sprint made quite a name for itself. In a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) survey, the telecommunications company ranked second among long distance companies in aided awareness behind AT&T and tied MCI for second place in unaided awareness. Last year, Sprint was a distant third in both categories.

"Although nearly twice as many people reported using MCI than Sprint for long distance, Sprint was able to tie MCI WorldCom by this measure of brand awareness. It demonstrates real strength and power in the Sprint brand," said Tom Kiersted, a senior analyst with IDC's Telecommunications Brands and Bundles research program. "When you see a company with roughly half the penetration of its competitor rating so well, it means either one is doing very well or the other's doing pretty poorly. In this case, it appears that most of the effect is in Sprint's strength. Although they have a long way to go, they have some strengths in what their brand means and who's responding to it, which should serve them well in getting there."

According to IDC, the overall strength of the Sprint brand appears to be strong? and growing. Sprint's customers are wealthy, high spenders on telecom services, who tend to rate their satisfaction with Sprint higher than customers with the other two big long distance carriers. "Even though the assets associated with the Sprint brand can't touch AT&T in some respects, it appears Sprint has got a lock on the momentum. As they've built strength, MCI WorldCom has been dissipating theirs. MCI WorldCom dropped from 2nd in prompted awareness to 11th. I guess we'll all be watching to see what the brand managers at WorldCom do to harvest the brand assets they've purchased in Sprint."

Nevertheless, IDC's survey revealed the brand game is AT&T's to lose. The company ranked as the best known, best trusted, and most powerful brand. "The biggest challenge facing AT&T is how to keep its scores high as its legacy as the only telecom superpower becomes weaker and competition gets fiercer," Kiersted said. "The company is looking to its cable purchases, aggressive and successful wireless marketing, and other long-range projects and goals to help keep it from becoming stagnant as competitors ramp up new offerings and clever new service delivery mechanisms."

IDC recently published Battle of the Supergiants: How Do the Big Three Long Distance Carriers Rank (IDC #B20200). This report examines AT&T, MCI WorldCom, and Sprint in terms of who their customers are, how strong their brands are, and how they are positioning themselves for the future.

For more information or to order the report, please call Janis Dempsey at 1-800-343-4952 extension 4145 or email at jdempsey@idc.com.

About IDC

International Data Corporation delivers accurate, relevant, and high-impact data and insight on information technology to help organizations make sound business and technology decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide IT markets and adoption and technology trends, and analyzes IT products and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in more than 40 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, and the financial community. Additional information on IDC can be found on its Web site at http://www.idc.com.

IDC is a division of International Data Group, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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