GTE introduces long-distance service in Missouri; customers in 18 states now can choose GTE to provide local and long-distance phone service.

IRVING, Texas -- GTE today began offering long-distance (interLATA) service to GTE customers in Missouri. The new offering, marketed under the name GTE Easy Savings Plan,sm now is available to customers in 18 states.

The company also said that it will accommodate Missouri customers outside its service area who request GTE's long-distance service.

GTE was the first major telecommunications company to begin offering long-distance (interLATA) services to its local-service customers as allowed under The Telecommunications Act of 1996, signed into law in February. GTE began offering long-distance service on March 4, and plans to offer it by year-end in all 50 states.

With revenues of $20 billion in 1995, GTE is one of the largest publicly held telecommunications companies in the world. GTE is also the largest U.S.- based local telephone company and a leading cellular-service provider -- with wireline and wireless operations that form a market area covering about one- third of the country's population.