How WorldCom Dealt Its Way into the Big Time
Bernie Ebbers and three friends meet at the coffee shop at the Days Inn in Hattiesburg, Miss., to begin planning a startup to sell discount long-distance service. In November, the company is named LDDS (for Long-Distance Discount Service). The same month, LDDS receives certification from the Mississippi Public Utilities Commission to operate as a long-distance carrier. The company struggles for two years to attract customers.
LDDS sells its first minute of long distance to the University of Southern Mississippi. Ebbers named president of LDDS in April.
LDDS is formed as a consolidated company to combine the operations of several smaller predecessor carriers.
WilTel and MCI announce a long-term agreement providing each with access to the other's fiber-optic network. The agreement provides WilTel with access to more than 30,000 system miles.
After a series of smaller acquisitions around the U.S., LDDS acquires Advanced Telecommunications, making it the fourth-largest long-distance provider in the country.
LDDS acquires Dial-Net, with operations spread throughout half the U.S.
LDDS acquires Resurgens Communications Group and Metromedia Communications in a three-way transaction. After the merger, the company is renamed LDDS Communications.
LDDS acquires IDB WorldCom, giving the company far-reaching global capabilities.
LDDS Communications formally acquires WilTel Network Services for $2.5 billion from Williams Cos., producing the No. 4 U.S. long-distance company.
Upon enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, WorldCom signs agreements to become long-distance provider for GTE, Ameritech, and SBC Mobile Systems.
WorldCom receives permission to provide local telephone service in California, Connecticut, Illinois, and Texas.
MFS acquires UUNET Technologies, the world's largest Internet service provider. MFS gains regulatory approval to connect into Ameritech's local calling networks in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin--the first deal of its kind.
WorldCom completes merger with MFS Communications, which operates ''alternate-access'' local-calling networks for business customers in major cities.
Announces plan to buy CompuServe from H&R Block in a $1.2 billion stock deal. WorldCom will keep CompuServe's data network and swap its online service for America Online's ANS network services subsidiary--giving WorldCom's UUNET Internet services unit a big capacity boost.
OCT. 1, 1997
WorldCom announces an unsolicited $34.5 billion bid to acquire MCI Communications, the No. 2 long-distance company in the U.S. On the same day, WorldCom an-nounces a deal to purchase Brooks Fiber for $2.9 billion, boosting its presence in local calling.
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