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CenturyTel, Inc. to buy all local GTE telephone properties in Arkansas for $843.3 million.

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IRVING, Texas - GTE today announced an agreement in which GTE will sell 213,651 domestic access lines in Arkansas to CenturyTel for $843.3 million.

This transaction, which includes 103 GTE telephone exchanges in Arkansas, is the most recent in GTE's previously announced initiative to sell approximately 1.6 million telephone lines in the United States. GTE and CenturyTel described the transaction as one that will enable each entity to better concentrate on core markets and create both immediate and long-term value for their investors.

John Appel, president-GTE Network Services, said: "This transaction represents another important step toward our goal of generating more than $3 billion in after-tax proceeds from the sale of selected wireline properties."

The transaction involves 289 GTE Network Services employees in Arkansas. The deal does not affect GTE's offering of long distance and Internet services to Arkansas consumers.

"GTE and CenturyTel worked hard to reach a contract that includes provisions for the fair and equitable treatment of the GTE employees in Arkansas who are affected by this agreement," Appel said.

On May 27, GTE announced it had reached an agreement in which Citizens Utilities will purchase 186,839 customer access lines from GTE in Arizona, California, and Minnesota. Additionally, the Alaska Telephone Exchange Acquisition Corporation, Inc. (ATEAC) agreed to buy all of GTE's 20,564 access lines in Alaska.

Proceeds from the sale of GTE wireline properties - as well as GTE Airfone and GTE Government Systems - will be used for other investment in other strategic initiatives, including GTE's recent purchase of Ameritech wireless properties in Illinois and Missouri.

Sale approval is required by the Arkansas Public Service Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the U.S. Department of Justice. The closing of the sale and transfer of GTE operations to CenturyTel is expected to be complete by early 2000.

CenturyTel provides integrated communications services - including local exchange, wireless, long distance, Internet access and security monitoring services - to more than 2 million customers in 21 states. CenturyTel is the ninth largest domestic local exchange telephone company, based on access lines, and the 10th largest cellular company, based on population equivalents owned in the U.S.

About GTE

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. Additional information about GTE can be obtained at

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Editor's Note:

Maps of the affected exchanges can be obtained by selecting Arkansas Map.