Illinois Commerce Commission Approves Bell Atlantic/GTE Merger

Illinois Commerce Commission Approves
Bell Atlantic/GTE Merger

October 29, 1999


Bob Bishop,

Bob Varettoni,
Bell Atlantic

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The proposed merger of Bell Atlantic Corp. and
GTE Corp. cleared another hurdle today with approval of the merger by
the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).

James R. Hargrave, GTE's assistant vice president of regulatory and
government affairs for Illinois, said, "The ICC has recognized that
this merger promises to benefit Illinois customers both in the short and
long term. We are pleased that they have joined the growing number of
states that have approved the merger."

This latest approval leaves only seven states reviewing the merger, along
with the Federal Communications Commission. The U.S. Department of
Justice has given its clearance, as have shareholders of the two companies.
The merger has also received endorsement of the AFL-CIO
Communications Workers of America, and the International Brotherhood
of Electrical Workers.

Hargrave said that GTE's 900,000 in-region customers in Illinois can
expect direct benefits resulting from the merger that include:

  • Price reductions in some non-basic GTE telecommunications services
    totaling approximately $10 million.
  • A commitment to invest a minimum of $270 million over the next
    three years in the state's telecommunications infrastructure
  • Quicker deployment of advanced telecommunications technologies
    and services.

"Perhaps most importantly for the long term," Hargrave said,
"is that the merger establishes a world-class competitor that has the
size and strength to compete head-on against formidable companies like
AT&T, MCI WorldCom, and the just-merged SBC-Ameritech.

"We have already begun our competitive assault in Chicago,"
he continued. "We started earlier this month when we completed
our acquisition of Ameritech's cellular properties. Within 18 months of
closing the GTE-Bell Atlantic merger, the new company intends to expand
that competitive entry and provide the people of Chicago and those in 20
other cities a new much-needed choice for local, long distance, wireless,
Internet, and data services."

The two companies announced last year that they had agreed to a merger
of equals.

More information is available at Bell Atlantic's News Center on the World
Wide Web (http://www.ba.com) or at GTE's homepage