GTE announces largest broad-based stock-option grant ever given in the telecommunications industry; announcement builds on program announced last year.

STAMFORD, Conn. -- GTE Corp. today said it has allotted nearly 10 million shares of stock options for its Partnership Shares program, which provides stock options to more than 80,000 domestic employees.

This is the largest broad-based stock-option grant ever given in the telecommunications industry, making the program one of the 10 largest in corporate America. Last year, the company began the program with an initial grant of about 5 million shares.

The stock options were granted at a fixed market price of $42.625. Grants ranged from 100 shares for hourly employees and lower grade management employees to 300 shares for higher grade employees. Employees in most director-level and above positions continue with their current stock-option plans and do not receive Partnership Shares. Eligible part-time employees receive half the amount granted to full-time employees.

One third of the options become available to the employees over each of the next three years. At these times, employees can purchase the shares at the fixed market price, or elect to receive the difference in cash between the fixed price and the stock price at the time they exercise the option.

By making all of our employees owners of GTE, we allow them to share in the success that their hard work and dedication has brought the company and to receive the long-term benefits from the positive steps we are taking today to accelerate our growth, said GTE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Charles R. Lee.

With revenues of more than $21 billion in 1996, GTE is one of the largest publicly held telecommunications companies in the world. In the United States, GTE offers local and wireless service in 29 states and long-distance service in all 50 states. GTE was the first among its peers to offer one-stop shopping for local, long-distance and Internet access services. Outside the United States, where GTE has operated for more than 40 years, the company serves approximately 7 million customers. GTE is also a leader in government and defense communications systems and equipment, directories and telecommunications-based information services, and aircraft-passenger telecommunications.