Losing Your Web Host Company? AT&T is Calling

By Erin Joyce

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AT&T is the latest telecommunications company to sharpen its elbows in a bid to snag new business customers whose Web hosting companies have gone under or are about to exit the Web hosting business.

The new effort comes a little over a week after long distance company Sprint announced it would exit its money-losing hosting and co-location business and laying off 500 employees. And in April, Level 3 Communications said it would get out of the hosting business and shipped its customers to Computer Sciences Corp.

As it has in the past years of turmoil in the telecommunications industry, in which major carriers such as WorldCom and Global Crossing declared bankruptcy, AT&T is looking for a boost in customers in the wake of other providers' exits.

The company said its new enhancement program is designed to "ease the challenges of migrating Web hosting operations" by offering flexible financing options, complimentary installation, expedited contracting, service assurance guarantees, and aggressive and immediate pricing.

"Our first priority is serving customers who already are stranded or fear that possibility as providers turn off the lights in their Web hosting facilities," said Dave Dorman, AT&T chairman and CEO.

"While others are scaling down their investments or even abandoning this space, AT&T has forged forward and fundamentally integrated our Internet Data Centers (IDCs) into our networking architecture.

AT&T said it recently opened new IDCs in China (Hong Kong), France (Nice) and Australia (Sydney), which brings its total number of centers to 21 across three continents, including 13 in the United States.

But AT&T isn't the only telecommunications company looking to scoop up customers from Sprint or other Web hosting providers' exits. Navisite, (Quote, Company Info ), a provider of application hosting and messaging services, also recently launched a "Smart Move" promotion aimed at businesses "looking to relocate their current outsourced services."

The pitches included two free months of co-location hosting services with a two-year contract that included a bundle of Internet connection and domain hosting services.

AT&T's new terms include a one waiver of recurring charges along with an offer of hardware loans and trade-in/up programs, as well as financing options. In addition, AT&T said customers would receive complimentary project management support, engineering support, including equipment inventory and equipment transport up to 300 miles.

Already, 30 new customers have signed on, AT&T said. The latest push to entice new customers is also part of a new advertising campaign slated to run during the next few weeks.