Bell Atlantic Chairman and CEO Clears the Air on Competition

Bell Atlantic Chairman and CEO Clears the Air on Competition

Smith Asserts Bell Atlantic Is Opening Up Local Markets,

Charges Big Long Distance Companies Refuse to Compete

October 7, 1997

Media contacts:

Eric Rabe


Shannon Fioravanti


cleared the smokescreen obscuring the telecommunications landscape and

declared that his company remains dedicated to opening its local

market to competitors.

"I brought Bell Atlantic and NYNEX together for the very purpose of

mining the growth opportunities in our rich regional marketplace --

and the only way to do that is by being a full-service, one stop

provider," Smith told an audience at the American Enterprise


In his first major public policy speech since the completion of the

merger, Smith reiterated his commitment to achieving this goal to Bell

Atlantic customers and shareowners, adding that he feels "a personal

sense of urgency to get the job done -- and get it done right."

Committed to Competition

"Bell Atlantic has more to gain from long-distance entry than any

local telephone company in the country," Smith said. "We are

absolutely committed to local competition as the price we pay for

cracking the long distance market. That's why Bell Atlantic has done

more than anyone else in the country to open our markets to

competition," Smith added.

Bell Atlantic has almost 300 interconnection agreements with

competitors, including AT&T, MCI and Sprint. Competitive local

carriers have already taken a substantial portion of the lucrative

business market. Smith also noted Bell Atlantic's landmark merger

commitments to the FCC "address every one of the concerns expressed by

the interexchange carriers and federal regulators. No other local

company has done this."

Smith reported that Bell Atlantic has more than 1,000 people dedicated

to serving competitors and has spent close to a billion dollars to

open its networks "...which means we've invested more in promoting

competitive local entry in our territory than the biggest

interexchange carriers have in entering it."

Long Distance Smokescreen

Smith asserted that there is growing competition in the local phone

market, in spite of the reluctance of AT&T, MCI and Sprint. "The best

business strategy the IXCs have come up with is to keep Bell Atlantic

in regulatory quarantine -- and the best way to do that is not to

compete for the residential customer at all," said Smith.

Smith noted that "out of the more than 100,000 resale lines sold in the

state of New York as of August, less than one percent -- a mere 700 lines --

were sold by MCI. One small company in Chicago -- USN Communications

-- processes more orders in one hour than AT&T has ordered since the

Telcom Act was passed." In contrast, companies such as Eastern

Telelogic, Teleport, Brooks Fiber and WorldCom are doing business with

Bell Atlantic everyday, according to Smith.

"The plain fact is that the FCC -- its vision clouded by the

diversionary rhetoric of the big interexchange companies -- has been

looking for local competition in all the wrong places," said Smith.

Filing to Offer Long Distance in New York

Smith reported that Bell Atlantic has just completed a test of its

operating systems in New York, which showed that Bell Atlantic is

"successfully processing five times the numbers of orders we currently

see from competitive carriers on any given day." Bell Atlantic is

expected to file for long distance entry in New York State with its

Public Service Commission in the coming weeks.

Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new

communications, entertainment and information industry. In the

mid-Atlantic region, Bell Atlantic's telephone company subsidiaries

are the premier providers of local telecommunications and advanced

services. Globally, it is one of the largest investors in the

high-growth wireless communication marketplace. Bell Atlantic also

owns a substantial interest in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and

is actively developing high-growth national and international business

opportunities in all phases of the industry.