GTE reaches 4 million mark for wireless customers; growing rapidly,the company has nearly doubled its wireless customer base in two years

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.;

and Honolulu.

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.

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