ATLANTA -- GTE announced today that it has secured its 4 millionth wireless customer, a signal that the company's wireless business is growing even faster than expected. GTE Wireless ranks among the top-five wireless telecommunications companies in the United States.
Little more than two years ago, GTE Wireless was at 2.5 million
customers. Since then, the company initiated an aggressive growth strategy
focusing on customer service, employee training and empowerment, and investment
in advanced wireless technology.
"We are moving forward with confidence because of customer satisfaction and
loyalty combined with the fact our employees have the front-line tools to serve
our growing customer base with speed and efficiency," said GTE Wireless
President Mark Feighner.
The 4 million milestone is just the latest indication that the company's
customer-service strategy is reaping dividends. In 1996, GTE Wireless added
738,000 new domestic cellular customers, a 25 percent boost from 1995. The
company was among the industry growth leaders in the fourth quarter of last
year, with 356,000 new customers. Last year, GTE Wireless' revenue totaled $2.5
GTE Wireless is off to an excellent start in 1997, securing 260,000 new
customers in the first quarter of the year. The company now offers wireless
service in 16 states. Major markets include Birmingham, Ala.; Cincinnati;
Cleveland; Houston; Indianapolis; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis and Nashville, Tenn.;
Richmond, Va.; San Francisco; San Diego; Seattle; Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.;
This month, GTE Wireless launched digital wireless service in the Tampa Bay
area -- marking GTE's sixth digital cellular deployment in its markets
nationwide. The other markets where it has introduced digital wireless service
are: Austin, Texas; San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.; Cincinnati; and Seattle
and Spokane, Wash.
The company plans to continue its digital deployment in its major markets
nationwide throughout 1997. GTE's digital-cellular networks will use code
division multiple access (CDMA) technology, the most advanced digital technology
available today. CDMA technology has excellent sound clarity and allows
features such as Caller ID and short messaging.
Other recent developments by GTE Wireless include the commercial launch of a
Prepaid Airtime option for wireless customers in Cleveland, Honolulu, Houston,
Indianapolis, Memphis, San Diego and San Francisco.
In addition, GTE's Extended Wireless Packet Data service was unveiled this
year, providing public service, transportation and other mobile workers access
to critical data, such as e-mail and corporate intranet and Internet
information, using cellular "super phones" and other hand-held devices. This
new service is based on circuit switched-cellular digital packet data (CDPD)
technology, which allows users to transmit digital data over idle
wireless channels using a portable computing device and a CDPD modem.
Along with CDPD service, which is available to GTE Wireless customers in
more than 4,700 cities and towns nationwide without roaming fees, GTE recently
made significant progress on the Internet-access front. It announced in March
that its Internet access and wireline long-distance service are now available
through participating GTE Wireless retail locations around the country. The
package includes access to e-mail and 24-hour technical assistance. GTE has
already become the first local telephone company to sign more than 100,000
active Internet subscribers.
"The telecommunications industry is the engine running today's knowledge-
based economy," said Feighner. "We are committed to helping our customers
compete in this economy and helping them simplify their lifestyle and improve
their quality of life. All our customers can celebrate this achievement and be
confident we will continue to treat them as if each is our only customer as we
grow into the future -- because it is that foundation of customer service which
will support our continued wireless growth."
GTE is one of the largest publicly held telecommunications companies in the
world. Within the United States, GTE has wireline and wireless operations that
form a market area covering about one third of the country's population. In its
wireless operations, GTE provides products and services to 4 million customers
in 74 metropolitan and 52 rural markets nationwide.