Bell Atlantic, Mannesmann, and Olivetti Strengthen Omnitel Commitment; Bell Atlantic Chooses to Leave Infostrada

Bell Atlantic, Mannesmann, and Olivetti Strengthen Omnitel Commitment; Bell Atlantic Chooses to Leave Infostrada

December 9, 1997

Media contacts:

Steve Fleischer


Philadelphia, Pa. - Bell Atlantic, Mannesmann, and Olivetti today

announced an agreement to continue working closely together on their

Omnitel Pronto Italia wireless business as Bell Atlantic chooses to

sell its 33 percent ownership of Infostrada to Olivetti.

Under terms of the agreement Bell Atlantic has sold its interest in

Infostrada to Olivetti for proceeds of U.S.$43 million and additional

Board representation in both Omnitel Pronto Italia (OPI) and Omnitel

Sistemi Radiocellulari (OSR), the company which owns 70 percent of

OPI. Olivetti and Mannesmann will hold 100 percent of Infostrada

through their new joint venture. Omnitel will benefit from Bell

Atlantic's enhanced commitment and all three partners' resolutions to

strengthen competitive positioning for Omnitel - a company they and

their partners built into one of the world's fastest-growing wireless

operations. Omnitel last week reached two million customers in its

first 24 months of service.

Olivetti and Mannesmann will use their Infostrada joint venture to

focus on the development of the fixed wireline network in order to

compete in the new liberalized Italian telecommunications market.

Omnitel Pronto Italia is 70 percent owned by Omnitel Systemi

Radiocellulari (OSR) and 30 percent owned by Pronto Italia (PI). The

OSR consortium includes Olivetti, Bell Atlantic, Cellular

Communications International (CCII), and Telia. The PI consortium's

largest shareholders are AirTouch and Mannesmann.

Prior to the close of Olivetti's and Mannesmann's joint venture,

Omnitel Pronto Italia's top shareholders are Olivetti (35.5%), Bell

Atlantic (17.4%), AirTouch (15.5%), CCII (10.3%), Telia (6.8%), and

Mannesmann (5.9%).

The new Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and

NYNEX - is at the forefront of the new communications, information and

entertainment industry. With 40 million telephone access lines and

5.8 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are

premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market

leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of

directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the

world's largest investors in high-growth global communications

markets, with operations and investments in 21 countries.