ATLANTA -- GTE Mobilnet, the wireless business unit of GTE Corp. (NYSE: GTE), is officially changing its name to GTE Wireless. The name change will occur throughout the remainder of this year as GTE Mobilnet changes its signage to GTE Wireless and begins fall advertising under the company's new name.
"We opened our doors for business as GTE Mobilnet early in 1984 -- and now, 13 years later -- we're changing our name to GTE Wireless to reflect more clearly who we are today: a major telecommunications company offering a multitude of new and innovative wireless voice and data services. That's what GTE Wireless is all about: making life a bit simpler by bringing needed wireless solutions to customers virtually wherever they go," said Mark Feighner, president of GTE Wireless.
"It's a matter of self-definition," Feighner said. "We are continuing to evolve to meet emerging customer needs for new and better wireless voice and data services. And we want our name -- GTE Wireless -- to reflect that evolution."
When GTE opened its first "cellular" market in Indianapolis in 1984, the company was a start-up entrepreneurial business with a vision, but no customers. By the fall of 1992, GTE's customers numbered 1 million. GTE's wireless customer count reached 2 million by the fall of 1994 and jumped to more than 4 million by March of 1997.
Statistics from the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) show that there are now 50 million wireless customers in the United States. According to CTIA, it took just 14 years to reach those 50 million customers, in comparison to 24 years for television, 39 years for radio, and 77 years for traditional wired telephones.
According to Paul Kagan Associates, Inc., a media research and consulting firm, the number of wireless subscribers could reach nearly 90 million by the year 2000.
"We plan to grow GTE Wireless from our current base of nearly 4.1 million customers nationwide by exceeding our customers' expectations," Feighner said. "We're well on our way by currently offering our customers a wide range of services including data, local and long-distance service and Internet solutions. In many cases, we can offer one bill for these services. We believe the customer will ultimately choose the company that is easiest to do business with -- and that's what GTE aims to be."
GTE Wireless currently has a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week customer-care center. Feighner said GTE's goal is for each job in GTE Wireless to center around serving the customer, and that all GTE operations and personnel will provide support for the front-line employees who serve the customer first hand. With the name change from GTE Mobilnet to GTE Wireless comes a renewed commitment to serving the customer, Feighner emphasized.
In the beginning of the wireless era, networks were analog and only voice services were available. Today, GTE's wireless services encompass both analog and digital voice services, paging, and wireless data in many of the company's wireless markets.
GTE Wireless began its digital deployment in 1996, and will continue to deploy digital service in most of its major markets throughout 1997 and the early part of next year. GTE's digital-wireless service has excellent sound clarity and allows new features such as caller ID and digital messaging. And, GTE's digital customers will have a unique advantage: When they travel outside the digital coverage area, their phones will convert to the analog system, allowing them to use their wireless phones virtually nationwide.
GTE's extended wireless packet data service was unveiled this year, providing public service, transportation and other mobile workers with access to critical data, such as e-mail and corporate Intranet and Internet information. GTE offers a full complement of data services, providing wireless solutions for such real-world business applications as sending and receiving faxes, processing point-of-sale transactions, monitoring alarm systems, reading remote meters and sensors, processing sales and service orders, and retrieving information from data banks.
Beginning in August, GTE will offer its SuperPhone Service -- a wireless link to the world, providing users with 24 hours-a-day of non-stop access to the information they need most -- such as sales inventory levels, shipping schedules, e-mail, flight times and stock prices. SuperPhones look like cellular phones with a big screen and contain a tiny data browser and modem. A SuperPhone customer might use this advanced wireless voice and data tool for such critical functions as conducting background checks, processing work-order requests, checking customer-order status, obtaining price quotations and other important information -- all of which give GTE's customers a competitive edge.
GTE Wireless is part of GTE Corp. (NYSE: GTE), 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.