BUENOS AIRES - GTE Corp. today won one of two 40 MHz Personal Communications System (PCS) wireless telephone licenses for Buenos Aires, thereby becoming the first company whose subsidiaries are licensed to provide wireless services throughout Argentina.
GTE submitted a winning bid of $301 million in the auction held by the government of Argentina. The license is expected to be awarded in late June.
The PCS license complements GTE's existing wireless licenses in Argentina and expands its coverage to the entire country. GTE has operational control of CTI Holdings, a consortium that has provided wireless service in the north and south interior regions of Argentina since 1995 and currently has approximately 700,000 customers. In addition to its wireless network, GTE and CTI recently were awarded a license for national and international long distance wireline service as well as local service beginning in November 1999.
"Our aggressive bid for the PCS license underscores our commitment to offer competitive, high-quality wireless services throughout Argentina," said Fares Salloum, GTE senior vice president-international operations.
GTE has formed a new company to construct and operate the PCS network in Buenos Aires. Service will be sold under the CTI brand. GTE currently is negotiating with CTI shareholders, including Grupo Clarin, to sell them ownership stakes in the new PCS company, subject to compliance with applicable law.
GTE's PCS network will use Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital technology, which delivers clear, static-free calls and allows more customers to use their wireless service simultaneously. Separately, CTI is upgrading by year end the major cities in its regional network from analog to CDMA technology. Customers will be able to use dual-mode handsets capable of handling both analog and digital signals to complete calls on either network.
With 1998 revenues of more than $25 billion, GTE is a leading telecommunications provider with one of the industry's broadest arrays of products and services. In the United States, GTE provides local service in 28 states and wireless service in 17 states, as well as nationwide long-distance, directory, and internetworking services ranging from dial-up Internet access for residential and small-business consumers to Web-based applications for Fortune 500 companies. Outside the United States, the company serves customers on five continents.
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