GTE shareholders overwhelmingly approve GTE/Bell Atlantic merger.

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IRVING, Texas - GTE shareholders today overwhelmingly approved the company's merger with Bell Atlantic. The vote was announced at the GTE annual shareholder meeting in Atlanta.

The company said 96.7 percent of the votes submitted were in favor of the transaction.

"Our shareholders have given us a resounding vote of confidence," said GTE Chairman and CEO Charles R. Lee. "Achieving this significant milestone puts us well on our way to completing our merger of equals with Bell Atlantic. In fact, just over a week ago, the U.S. Department of Justice cleared the merger after an exhaustive review, finding no competitive issues in our vast combined wireline businesses. Today's shareholder approval brings us one step closer to creating a top-tier telecommunications provider that will bring new services to millions of consumers."

The company said that approximately 76 percent of the outstanding shares were voted for the merger, far exceeding the two-thirds approval threshold required. Tomorrow, Bell Atlantic shareholders will vote on the merger at their annual meeting in Atlanta.

The merger has won the support of numerous organizations, including the AFL-CIO, Communications Workers of America, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the League of United Latin American Citizens, Rainbow Push Coalition, and dozens of businesses and community leaders from areas served by GTE and Bell Atlantic.

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.

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