Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission Approves Bell Atlantic/GTE Merger

Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
Approves Bell Atlantic/GTE Merger

December 16, 1999


Bob Bishop,

Bob Varettoni,
Bell Atlantic


OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The proposed merger of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE
Corp. cleared another hurdle today with approval of the merger by the
Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC).

Lida Tong, GTE's director of regulatory and government affairs for
Washington state, said,
"The WUTC has recognized that this merger promises to benefit
Washington state customers both in the short and long term. We are
pleased that they have approved the merger."

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

Tong added, "GTE's 900,000 in-region customers in Washington
state can expect to continue to receive the same excellent service once the
merger has been approved."

GTE and Bell Atlantic announced last year that they had agreed to a
merger of equals.

This latest approval leaves only two states -- California and Ohio --
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, the Communications Workers of America,
and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Additional information about the Bell Atlantic/GTE merger can be found
at http://www.mergerinfo.com.