GTE introduces new premium Internet service package for consumer and small business customers; dial-up service surpasses 360,000 subscribers.

Editors Note: GTE to demonstrate broad range of consumer and business Internet applications during Spring Internet World 98, Los Angeles Convention Center, March 11-13, GTE booth #1424.

LOS ANGELES GTE today announced a series of Internet initiatives designed to help better manage the inflow of messages by multiple users working in one location, and make it easier for consumers and small businesses to get online.

Beginning this week, GTE Internetworking, a unit of GTE Corp., will offer a $24.95 flat rate premium service package including two unique e-mail boxes, enhanced Web site customization services featuring CNETs Snap! Online and increased personal Web storage space for the creation of individual home pages. The new premium service package, with a one-time $15 start-up fee, will give users five megabytes of Web storage space.

GTEs current $19.95 basic package, with one e-mail box and basic content aggregation services, will continue to be offered, but the amount of personal Web storage space will decrease from five to two megabytes in the second quarter.

"Our premium service package offer reinforces our commitment to being an all-purpose Internet service provider focused on helping all Internet customers, from first-time computer buyers to those who require enhanced services for their growing business and household," said Alex Coleman, vice president/general manager of GTE Internetworking Services, a division of GTE Internetworking. "Each day, the Internet becomes the cornerstone communications medium for an increasingly growing sector of our subscriber base. The new needs of the Internet dictate that we develop enhanced packages that support our customers needs, provide greater value than our competitors offerings and ensure that our Internet business can grow profitably."

This week, the number of GTE dial-up Internet access customers will surpass 360,000, making it among the fastest-growing national Internet service providers. At the end of 1996, six months after it began offering Internet services in all 50 states, GTE boasted 70,000 subscribers.

Bundled Service Offerings Spur GTE Internet Growth

Key to GTEs rapid growth are its offers of bundled packages that provide discounts to customers who sign up for GTE Internet and other services such as GTE long distance or ISDN, a high-speed digital service that increases Internet productivity.

Customers who subscribe to GTE Internet and long distance receive Internet access service for $17.95 per month, a 10 percent discount, and existing local phone customers get both services conveniently placed on one bill.

"As part of one of the worlds largest telecommunications companies, GTE Internetworking is able to develop more compelling reasons for people to use GTE Internet service from both a product and price perspective," said Michael Bolduc, director of product management for GTE Internetworking Services. "By bundling our services together, we can simplify the ability for first-time and veteran Internet users to get on line quickly and easily. And through our existing relationships with leading content aggregation and networking providers, we can deliver a complete suite of Web-based services, not simply basic access."

To further boost its subscriber base by simplifying novice customers overall Internet experience, GTE Internetworking plans to expand relationships with PC manufacturers that equip their computers with pre-loaded software that provides desktop access to GTE Internet service.

Under its "Easy Internet Access" program, GTE Internet service is currently pre-loaded on selected Acer, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and Sony computers before they are supplied to retailers. Under the program, new computer buyers have the option to sign up for 50 free hours of GTE Internet service and learn more about the Internet before making a monetary commitment. "Easy Internet Access" subscribers have 90 days to use up their 50 free hours, with a maximum use of two hours per day. Since July, more than 80,000 subscribers have taken advantage of the free trial offer, with one-fourth of those becoming paid customers.

About Internet service
GTE Internet service is available nationwide, and dial-up analog access, up to 56kbps, is offered for $19.95 per month for unlimited use, and includes two megabytes of drive space on a web server for a personal home page and 24x7 technical support. A $24.95 per month premium service package with two e-mail boxes, enhanced Web site customization services and five megabytes of drive space is also available. To order GTE Internet service, customers can call 1-888-GTESURF (1-888-483-7873). Additional information about GTE Internet service can be found on the Internet at www.gte.net.

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