Bell Atlantic, GTE Respond to Latest Tactic by AT&T Front Group to Delay Merger

Bell Atlantic, GTE Respond to Latest Tactic
by AT&T Front Group to Delay Merger

April 13, 1999


Harry Mitchell, Bell Atlantic

Sara Vuick, GTE

BACKGROUND -- AT&T shill group Pennsylvanians for Local
Competition (PLC) today issued a release quoting a sampling of people
PLC claims it has helped "voice their concerns" about the proposed
merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE. The following may be attributed to
Daniel J. Whelan, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic - Pennsylvania, and
John O. Dudley, assistant vice president-regulatory and government
affairs of GTE North:

This is just the latest in an ongoing campaign of distortion and
disinformation being waged by Pennsylvania's chapter of the AT&T glee
club. This shill group is singing a song composed by AT&T as it
desperately tries to keep a merged Bell Atlantic-GTE from providing some
much-needed competition for the communications titan.

It's interesting to note that this group, which claims to promote the
benefits of local competition, raised no objection when AT&T gobbled up
first TCG and then TCI in multi-billion-dollar bites, removing two
competitors from the landscape, if you follow this group's logic. In
addition, AT&T's shill group has convinced far less than 1 percent of
callers and visitors to its Web site to register their concern over the
merger, based on its figures.

Meanwhile, the AT&T front group fails to tell people the following
facts about the Bell Atlantic-GTE merger:

  • Our merger will increase competition, not hamper it.
    Currently, more than 125 companies have indicated they plan
    to compete with Bell Atlantic in Pennsylvania. Many of them
    already are. A merged Bell Atlantic-GTE actually will provide
    the incentive AT&T and MCI WorldCom apparently need to
    start competing for Pennsylvanians' local phone service.

  • It will allow the merged company to bring new, advanced
    communications services to Pennsylvanians quicker and more

  • It will stimulate the regional economy and employment in


Bell Atlantic and GTE announced in July 1998 that they planned a
merger of equals. To date, 28 state public utility commission have either
approved the merger or declined to assert jurisdiction over it. Regulators
in 11 other states and federal regulators are currently considering the
public interest benefits of the merger. More information is available at
Bell Atlantic's News Center on the World Wide Web (http://www.ba.com)
or at GTE's homepage (http://www.gte.com).