MA BELL IS DEAD,' says Bell Atlantic Chief
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 1996
'MA BELL IS DEAD,' says Bell Atlantic Chief
Sees Merger with NYNEX as a Big Plus for Competition,
New Orleans -- "Ma Bell is dead -- a fossilized,
piece," Bell Atlantic Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Raymond W.
Smith said Tuesday in a speech to the Society of American
Editors and Writers in New Orleans. "Too much has changed in the 12
years since divestiture to resuscitate her."
Smith dismissed the notion that "Baby Bell" mergers will
telephone monopolies of the past. "Competition is flourishing, and
the Telecommunications Act (of 1996) guarantees even more of it," he
In the spirit of the new legislation, Bell Atlantic's proposed merger
with NYNEX will accelerate full competition in the telecommunications
industry, Smith said. "The true winners will be the customers, who
will get increased choice, lower prices and better, more innovative
services. The new Bell Atlantic is a natural alliance, one with
enough scale, scope and resources to compete effectively with giants
like AT&T and British Telecom."
The prospect of providing long-distance service is a
for NYNEX and Bell Atlantic to continue to work toward opening their
local markets to competition, said Smith. Meeting the 14-point
competitive checklist called for in the Telecommunications Act "will
continue to be a front-burner item" at both companies, he said.
"We will fight any effort by long-distance giants to add burdensome
rules to delay entry of new competitors into the long-distance
business," said Smith, adding that such tactics deny consumer choice
and postpone the advent of cost-saving alternative services provided
by new and smaller companies.
Another positive effect of the merger will be job creation, said
Smith. "The real story is the strength of a combined company to
address high-growth video, long-distance and data access markets and
provide significantly improved employment opportunities."
As proof, he alluded to Bell Atlantic NYNEX
Mobile, the wireless
communication joint venture between Bell Atlantic and NYNEX formed in
"It has been only 10 months since we started this venture,"
said, "but employment there has grown more than 30 percent. That's
1,500 new jobs. We have every reason to believe similar growth will
occur as the new Bell Atlantic builds our video, long-distance and on-line businesses."
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.
- David Stakun, 215-963-6639
Ray Smith Speech:
Society of American Business Editors and Writers