GTE opens second center to accommodate increased activity resulting from competitors entering local markets.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- GTE has announced the opening of its second National Open Market Center (NOMC) to accommodate its growing business with competitive local exchange carriers (CLEC). GTEs wholesale business expansion is spurred by more than 200 agreements with CLECs for local interconnection service.

GTE opened its first NOMC in January 1996, in Durham, N. C., in anticipation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Act established a framework for new market entrants to connect with GTE's telephone network and provide service in competition with GTEs retail operations.

GTE is making progress in building systems that allow new entrants to interact with GTE and offer local service, said Larry Sparrow,
President-Wholesale Markets, GTE Network Services. GTE is committed to serving its wholesale customers with the same courtesy and service that our existing retail customers expect from us.

Our employees work long hours every day, including weekends, to maintain a high level of customer service as competition in GTE's local markets grows, Sparrow said.

Orders to switch current GTE retail customers to a CLEC involves several steps and may include changes to GTE's directory database.

Fort Wayne was selected for the new GTE center for a number of reasons, including the area's quality of life and highly-skilled workforce, according to Ed Weise, North region president for GTE Network Services.

GTE is investing nearly $1 million to refurbish the former GTE customer contact center. Two hundred and seventy-five former customer contact employees will be retained. GTE will boost the number of employees to approximately 350 to 400 by year-end. The center is located in an Urban Enterprise Zone, created by Fort Wayne to encourage businesses to help rebuild and revitalize the area.

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.