BELL ATLANTIC FIRST QUARTER UP 13.5 PERCENT
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 1996
Philadelphia -- Surging demand for network connectivity
value-added communication services, plus continued strong growth in
the Boston-to-Washington, D.C., wireless market, drove first-quarter
1996 net income at Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL) up 13.5
percent compared with 1995 results for the same period, the company
announced. Earnings per share grew 12.6 percent.
Reported net income for the quarter was $470.5 million, or $1.07 per
share, versus $414.5 million, or $.95 per share, a year earlier.
"Our network business is starting a new growth cycle," said
Atlantic Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Raymond W. Smith. "The
on-line revolution is boosting access line gains, while the emergence
of the high-value consumer is driving penetration of a wide range of
value-added, call management products. Our domestic wireless
business continues to write new chapters in its success story, which
we're beginning to see repeated in our international holdings."
In the first quarter of 1996, strong business volumes contributed
to revenue growth of 5.7 percent in Bell Atlantic's core Network
- Access lines in service on March 31, 1996, topped 20.0
million, up 3.5 percent over the last 12 months. The increase
includes Centrex line growth of 9.9 percent.
- Access minutes of use were up 12.7 percent.
"The strong revenue growth in Network reflects the renewed vigor of
our regional marketplace," said Vice Chairman James G. Cullen.
"Aggressive marketing and promotional efforts have enabled us to
capitalize on the vertical growth opportunities presented by
high-value consumers and expanding needs in the business and
- First-quarter sales of secondary residential telephone
totaled 205,000, driving penetration to approximately 13 percent
from 10 percent a year ago.
- Revenues from Answer
Call and central-office-based services such
ID and Call
Waiting grew more than 23 percent compared
with first-quarter results from 1995.
- At quarter's end, Bell Atlantic had nearly 155,000 ISDN
(integrated services digital network) lines in service, 45
higher than the total a year ago. The company is undertaking
several initiatives aimed at accelerating growth in ISDN
connections. In January, it announced a co-marketing arrangement
with Microsoft that allows Windows* users to obtain ISDN
information and service connections more quickly and easily. More
recently, Bell Atlantic announced plans to offer its own brand of
Internet access services; an agreement with Netscape to license
that company's navigation software; and significant price
reductions for residential ISDN service.
- In the large-business market, first-quarter revenues from
high-speed Fast-Packet data services doubled.
- Driven by special promotions on feature-rich service packages,
Centrex revenues climbed more than 35 percent over
First-quarter Network operating expenses -- which included investments
in new billing systems, software upgrades and increased marketing
expenses -- totaled $2.4 billion, up 5.4 percent from 1995 results.
Operating cash flow margin was 45.7 percent.
Bell Atlantic continued to achieve operating efficiency gains, as
access lines per network employee increased to 360 from 324 as of
March 31, 1995, an improvement of 11 percent.
"With the enactment of
the Telecommunications Act of 1996 in February,
I'm confident Bell Atlantic can achieve even higher levels of Network
growth," said Cullen. "This year, we launched the world's
commercial video network; we filed to provide long-distance service in
several states outside of our region as we work to meet regulatory
requirements to provide in-region service in 1997; we introduced our
own line of comprehensive, easy-to-use, affordable Internet services;
and we'll be in the market with a highly differentiated video service by next winter."
Bell Atlantic's domestic wireless business posted strong revenue and
subscriber gains and continued to improve operating efficiency in the
face of increasing competition. (Since July 1, 1995, when Bell
Atlantic's domestic cellular properties were
combined with those of
NYNEX to form Bell Atlantic NYNEX
Mobile, returns to Bell Atlantic
from the joint venture -- along with those of the company's other
wireless holdings -- are reported as "Equity in Income of
"Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile is an unqualified success -- an industry
home run," said Bell Atlantic Vice Chairman Lawrence T. Babbio, Jr.
"It continues to be a growth leader and the model of operating
efficiency for all our wireless investments."
The following highlights of Bell
Atlantic NYNEX Mobile's first-quarter
performance contain comparative financial and operating statistics
derived as if the joint venture had existed in the first quarter of
- Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile added 217,000 new subscribers, 36,000
more than in the first quarter of 1995, for an annual growth rate
of almost 42 percent, among the highest in the wireless industry.
Subscribers as of March 31, 1996, totaled 3.58 million.
- Operating revenues grew $125 million, or nearly 30 percent, to
- Operating cash flow margin was 41 percent, up from 29 percent in
the first quarter of 1995, resulting in a 79 percent increase in
operating cash flow.
- In the first quarter, the number of TalkAlong(SM) subscribers
nearly doubled, increasing from 187,000 at the end of 1995 to
363,000 as of March 31, 1996.
"Customers continue to choose Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile, despite
heightened competition we're seeing in the wireless business," said
Babbio. "By introducing easy-to-buy services such as TalkAlong
and easy-to-use innovations such as TalkDial voice-activated dialing,
we're constantly enhancing the value and utility of wireless for both
business and consumer users."
- Just four months after launching commercial service, Omnitel
Pronto Italia, Bell Atlantic's consortium to operate the second
wireless license in Italy, has 123,000 customers and has been
acquiring 40 percent of new subscribers in the Italian GSM
(Global Service for Mobile) market.
- EuroTel, Bell Atlantic's partnership currently serving about
65,000 wireless customers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia,
was awarded a second GSM license to build a digital network in
the Czech Republic when the market is opened to competition this
"Our goal has always been to achieve close relationships with our
customers and strong market positions everywhere we do business,"
Smith. "Our first-quarter accomplishments bode well for us as we
enter an era of unfettered competition and new opportunities enabled
by telecommunications reform legislation. In my view, the picture has
never been brighter."
Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local
telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the
largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication
marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in
Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is actively developing
high-growth national and international business opportunities in all
phases of the industry.
*Trademark of Microsoft Corp.
- David Stakun, 215-963-6639
First Quarter 1996