GTE marks two-year anniversary in long-distance business with two million customers in service; doubles customer base in just one year.

IRVING, Texas - Two years after GTE became the first of its peers to enter the long-distance business, the company today announced it now provides long-distance service to two million customers nationwide. The total represents a 100 percent increase in GTE's long-distance customer base in just one year.

"The fact that we were able to win a million customers in our first year, and then double that number in our second year, clearly indicates our customer-focused approach to the market is a winner," said Butch Bercher, president of GTE Communications Corporation, the unit that houses the GTE Long Distance division.

"The key to our success has been our ability to combine simplicity and convenience with good old-fashioned customer service," Bercher added. "Customers tell us they like our easy-to-understand offers, the convenience of one monthly bill for telecom services and one number to call for help. And, we find most people really respond to simple courtesies -- like a hand-written thank you note or a call to let them know they could save more on another calling plan."

Reaching the two million milestone is just the latest indication that the company's long-distance strategy is on target. Since the first of the year, GTE Long Distance has added 300,000 new customers.

While GTE's long-distance service is available in all 50 states, the company says it has been very focused in its marketing approach, concentrating on acquiring communications-intensive customers, those that rely heavily on telecommunications, in areas where its brand is well known. The company also notes that it has been successful in using product and service bundles that include long-distance as a way to extend its marketing reach into new areas.

With 1997 revenues of more than $23 billion, GTE is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies and a leading provider of integrated telecommunications services. In the United States, GTE provides local service in 28 states and wireless service in 17 states; nationwide long-distance and internetworking services ranging from dial-up Internet access for residential and small-business consumers to Web-based applications for Fortune 500 companies; as well as video service in selected markets.

Outside the United States, the company serves more than 7 million telecommunications customers. GTE is also a leader in government and defense communications systems and equipment, directories and telecommunications-based information services, and aircraft-passenger telecommunications.

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