GTE Teams With Mercantec To Make Opening Web Stores Affordable; Expanded Offering Features Easy-to-Use Virtual Store Application

IRVING, Texas -- GTE Internetworking, a unit of GTE Corp., and Mercantec, Inc., a leading provider of open retail electronic commerce software, today announced an agreement enabling GTE to license Mercantec SoftCartTM as a value-added feature to GTE's secure Web hosting packages. Under the agreement, GTE will now, for the first time, offer new and existing customers an affordable Internet solution, complete with Web hosting, Web design and secure electronic commerce.

Mercantec SoftCart, coupled with GTE's services, will provide small to medium-sized merchants with a secure, turnkey electronic commerce solution for their Web sites. Mercantec SoftCart provides the tools needed to make shopping on-line simple and secure for consumers.

"Until today, telecommunications companies have either not offered electronic commerce solutions or have offered solutions that required long set-up times and were price-prohibitive for the majority of their merchants," said Michael Bolduc, director-product management for GTE Internetworking. "GTE chose Mercantec SoftCart for our merchants not only because of its strong market presence but because it is the most full-featured, cost-effective software for opening Web stores on the market today."

GTE will offer its electronic commerce/Web hosting package to new customers as well as businesses that are currently utilizing GTE services and want to expand onto the Internet. An advantage for merchants is that they will receive a free listing on GTE's SuperPages interactive service, the company's on-line yellow pages directory. This will help consumers locate the on-line store and significantly drive additional traffic to their Web sites.

"GTE is raising the bar in the telco industry, and lowering the barriers to entry for merchants who want to expand their business," said Andrew G. Parker, president of Mercantec. "By adding Mercantec SoftCart to their services, GTE is now able to offer merchants an open-architecture, easy-to-use electronic commerce system that doesn't require merchants to
re-invent the business systems they use today."

"As the first hosting provider to be approved by the National Computer Security Association(NCSA), GTE Internetworking is enhancing consumers' confidence and trust when shopping on-line," said Parker.

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About Mercantec, Inc.
Since its founding in 1995, Mercantec, Inc., has become the leading provider of open retail electronic commerce software. Mercantec SoftCartTM software enables merchants to expand their geographic reach by marketing and selling goods and services via the World Wide Web. Mercantec has partnered with a worldwide network of more than 60 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Web hosting service providers, including GTE Internetworking, Hiway Technologies, MindSpring, and PSINet, to offer affordable hosting and electronic commerce solutions to merchants. Mercantec's other distribution channels include American Express, Web consultants, software developers, integrators and OEMs, including Tandem Computers. SoftCart utilizes StateTrackTM technology to provide 100 percent shopper privacy.

Mercantec SoftCart supports all known Web servers including Microsoft, Netscape, Spyglass, and APACHE. Mercantec SoftCart runs on Windows NT, Windows 95 and the most popular UNIX platforms including Sun Solaris, SGI IRIX, Linux, SCO UNIX, HP/UX, Free BSD and BSDI.

Mercantec is headquartered in Lisle, Ill.

To learn more about Mercantec, visit the company Web site at www.mercantec.com.