Grupo Iusacell Signs Mexico's First Fiber-Swap Agreement

[NYSE:CEL] today announced it signed Mexico's first "fiber-swap" agreement with another long distance provider, Marcatel SA, allowing the two companies to serve more of the market more efficiently. While financial terms were not disclosed, the agreement allows Marcatel to sell capacity on its fiber-optic network to Iusacell in return for a reciprocal arrangement. Each company will be able to increase its geographic coverage in Mexico without building redundant network infrastructure.

The agreement gives both companies access to a more than 1,300-mile fiber-optic network, dramatically increasing the number of communities each company can serve.

The arrangement is designed to support the Mexican government's goal of creating an efficient, competitive telecommunications marketplace. "Grupo Iusacell reiterates its commitment to expanding its services to the greatest number of communities in the most efficient way possible and to delivering the quality that characterizes products throughout our entire business," said Iusacell President and General Director Fulvio del Valle. "Iusacell is not only committed to delivering the highest quality telecommunications services available in the Mexican market, but also to offering the most competitive prices."

Iusacell is a leading independent communications company in Mexico. It provides cellular service in four of the nine regions in the central portion of Mexico, including Mexico City. The company covers 66 million potential customers, or 70 percent of the country's population.

Bell Atlantic owns 42 percent of Iusacell's capital stock and has had management control since February 1997.

Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX - is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With 40.5 million telephone access lines and six million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 21 countries.