Bell Atlantic President Shares Telecommunications Vision in
Expo Comm '99 Keynote
Wireless one of three keys in "controlling the center of the
February 10, 1999
Steve Fleischer, Bell Atlantic
Mexico City, Mexico -- Bell Atlantic President and Chief Operating
Officer Lawrence T. Babbio, Jr., shared Bell Atlantic's vision for the
future of telecommunications in a keynote address to hundreds of
attendees -- including regulators, government officials, and telecom
industry executives -- at Mexico's premier telecom event Expo Comm '99.
Babbio, who is also chairman of Mexico's second largest
telecommunications company Grupo Iusacell, pointed to three areas that
are key to feeding the world's growing hunger for voice and data services:
High-speed connectivity to the mass market, high-speed data connectivity
to business customers, and global wireless services.
"Anytime, anywhere connectivity is no longer something from science
fiction, it is reality right now," said Babbio. "We are evolving toward a
world of interconnected wired and wireless networks feeding data to
millions of people through information appliances."
In his speech Babbio noted that, "Every chess player knows the key to the
game is establishing a position in the center of the chessboard," pointing to
Bell Atlantic's position as one of the globe's largest communications
companies based in the world's richest market, the U.S.
Bell Atlantic's wireless portfolio, among the largest and fastest growing in
the world, ended 1998 with 8.6 million proportionate customers,
proportionate revenues of US$4.6 billion, and spanned 25 U.S. states and
high-growth markets in Latin America, Europe, and Asia with a combined
total population of more than 400 million.
Bell Atlantic's president outlined targets for the global wireless portfolio
for 1999 including total subscribers between 10 million - 10.5 million,
operating revenues between $5.2 billion - $5.7 billion; operating income
between $950 million - $1.2 billion, and operating cash flow between $1.8
billion - $1.9 billion.
Bell Atlantic's domestic wireless properties, Bell Atlantic Mobile and
PrimeCo Personal Communications are two of the U.S.' biggest carriers.
Wholly-owned Bell Atlantic Mobile is a $3.5 billion business that ended
1998 with 6.2 million customers, and the PrimeCo partnership grew its
customer base 133% to 900,000 and increased revenues 145% to $509
million in 1998.
International wireless properties generated the greatest amount of growth
in '98, ending the year with 1.9 million proportionate customers, up
143.5% over the prior year.
With the opening of markets, low teledensity rates, high prices, and poor
network and customer care quality, international markets hold tremendous
"By 2008, U.S. wireless penetration is expected to grow from 25% to
60%, wireless share of total telecom minutes from 5% to 21%, and share
of telecom revenue from 15% to 28%."
Internationally, wireless is growing at about five times the U.S. market's
pace. In Italy, celludensity will surpass teledensity in the next year, and
Mexico is predicted to be in the same position in well under a decade.
Bell Atlantic is taking advantage of this trend through early, aggressive
investment in digital platforms, pricing strategies that make wireless more
attractive, and innovative distribution and operating systems that
pioneered concepts such as Bell Atlantic Mobile's carrier-owned chain of
retail stores and a customer care system that dips into the database each
time a customer calls to provide a script for up-selling services based on
the customer's unique profile.
"Our experience at building a global enterprise translates into very specific
benefits for countries like Mexico. We've leveraged our skills at
technology deployment, customer service, marketing, and distribution to
enhance the performance of investments such as Iusacell, and improved
the delivery of telecommunications services to local customers all around
Babbio predicts that as markets like Mexico warm more to open and level
competition, bring interconnection fees in line with world-class
benchmarks, and institute programs like Calling Party Pays, consumers
will continue to be the big winners.
"As competitive potential turns into real customer benefits, critical mass
will create further incentives to invest in those markets."
All of Mr. Babbio's recent speeches can be accessed at http://www.ba.com.
Bell Atlantic is one of the world's largest wireless communications
companies, with domestic operations in 25 U.S. states and international
investments spanning Latin America, Europe, and Asia. For information
on our global operations, visit http://www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide.