GTE Wireless and Baja Celular partner to engineer first-ever 'handoff' between cell sites across international borders

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ATLANTA -- GTE Wireless and Baja Celular of Tijuana, Mexico, have partnered to use technologically advanced digital networks that allow both American and Mexican cell sites to serve calls simultaneously without signal interference, resulting in improved call clarity and reliability. This represents the first-ever CDMA 'handoff' between cell sites across international borders. Both GTE Wireless and Baja Celular contracted with Motorola, Inc. to provide the networks for the two compatible systems. GTE Wireless is the only wireless telephone service provider in the San Diego market to offer this groundbreaking service.

Both GTE Wireless and Baja Celulars networks utilize Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology developed by San Diego-based Qualcomm.

"GTEs digital customers who live and work near the Mexican border will experience an increase in clarity in their calls, due to the intimately coordinated networks," said Lindsey Burroughs, San Diego area president for GTE Wireless. "For example, if the strongest signal is achieved using a cell site in Tijuana, the network automatically recognizes and utilizes that signal in a seamless process. The customer never experiences any interruption in service."

Even though the call may utilize cell sites from Tijuana, the call is billed based on where the call originated. "Customers will receive only one bill from their service provider, whether it be GTE Wireless or Baja Celular, and they will not be charged roaming fees," Burroughs said.

And, customers also will benefit by a significant reduction in the possibility of their numbers being cloned, thanks to the CDMA digital technology utilized in the networks.

More than 60 million people cross the U.S.-Mexico border each year to shop, work and visit family. Based on this high volume of activity, the improved service will be valuable to many travelers. In addition, the more than 325,000 people living in San Diegos South Bay communities now have the option to take advantage of this new network compatibility and GTEs state-of-the-art digital and analog networks.

"Now GTE Wireless or Baja Celular digital customers who regularly travel across the border between the United States and Mexico will have the advantage of having their wireless calls seamlessly transferred from GTE Wireless cell sites to Baja Celular cell sites and back again," Burroughs said.

GTE provides wireless telecommunications products and services to multiple markets in California, including the Greater San Diego metropolitan area. In addition to California, GTE Wireless provides wireless services and products in 16 other states. GTE Wireless is part of GTE Corp. (NYSE:GTE).

With 1997 revenues of more than $23 billion, GTE is one of the worlds largest telecommunications companies and a leading provider of integrated
telecommunications services.

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