AT&T wins multi-million dollar integrated networking contract

HOUSTON, March 31, 2004 - With consumers increasingly using ATM and debit cards for retail purchases, PULSE EFT Association, the nation’s largest financial industry-owned and controlled electronic funds transfer network, turned to AT&T to enhance the speed and reliability of the virtual network that connects PULSE to financial institutions, merchants and third-party data processors.

AT&T has won a five-year, multi-million dollar integrated networking contract to expand and enrich PULSE’s data and voice networking capabilities, enabling the network to process electronic transactions faster, with enhanced security and reliability and at PULSE’s continued low per-transaction cost. The contract encompasses communications network services and hardware provisioning.

"Enhancing the capabilities of the PULSE virtual network helps us achieve our overall business goal to continue providing member financial institutions, merchants and processors with access to low-cost, high-quality switching and settlement services," said Warren Coles, executive vice president of operations and chief operating officer of PULSE. "AT&T’s integrated networking solution has exceeded PULSE’s expectations in terms of system reliability, and AT&T makes it easier for us to expand our network as our business grows."

According to a recent nationwide consumer payment preference study released by the American Bankers Association, increases in debit payments are steadily eroding the use of cash and checks. In 2003, 31 percent of payments were made with debit cards - up from 21 percent in 1999.

"AT&T’s responsiveness to the needs of PULSE and its participants has played a significant role in helping the network meet the growing demands of the electronic banking industry," said Coles. "The fact that AT&T has the largest domestic network footprint is important to us on several levels; it provides increased reliability and flexibility, while also enhancing business continuity capabilities."

The AT&T solution combines a portfolio of local, long-distance and private-line data, Internet Protocol and voice services. The contract renews and significantly expands a long-standing relationship between the two companies.

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About PULSE EFT Association

PULSE is the only major network solely owned by financial institutions. With more than 4,400 member financial institutions, PULSE links an estimated 90 million cardholders with more than 200,000 ATMs and 3.2 million POS terminals at retail locations nationwide. In recent years, PULSE has become known as a valued resource for consumer research related to EFT services and an effective national voice on public policy issues relevant to the financial services industry. For more information, visit <>.

About AT&T

For more than 125 years, AT&T (NYSE "T," <>) has been known for unparalleled quality and reliability in communications. Backed by the research and development capabilities of AT&T Labs, the company is a global leader in local, long distance, Internet and transaction-based voice and data services.