NEW YORK AND LONDON — Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE:BEL) and Vodafone AirTouch Plc (NYSE and LSE: VOD) today announced that they have combined their U.S. cellular, paging and PCS businesses and formed a new nationwide competitor that will offer its wireless products and services coast-to-coast under a new brand name. All necessary approvals have been received. The companies first announced plans to combine their U.S. wireless businesses six months ago on September 21, 1999.
The new wireless company will be further strengthened following the completion of the Bell Atlantic - GTE Corp. (NYSE:GTE) merger, which is targeted for later in the second quarter. Including additions from GTE's domestic wireless business, the new company will rank as the nation's largest wireless company by far, serving more than 23 million wireless and nearly 4 million paging customers. Its nationwide footprint will cover over 90 percent of the U.S. population and 96 of the top 100 U.S. wireless markets, with 232 million net POPs.
The Bell Atlantic-Vodafone AirTouch wireless agreement and the Bell Atlantic-GTE merger are independent transactions. The completion of one is not contingent upon completion of the other.
Prior to the close of this transaction, Bell Atlantic completed an exchange of wireless interests with ALLTEL Corp. (NYSE: AT), including certain dispositions of properties required by the Department of Justice in order to complete the transaction with Vodafone AirTouch.
Note to Editors:Tomorrow, April 4, the new wireless company will hold a press conference and Webcast to announce a new, industry-leading pricing plan under a new national brand identity.
New wireless company press conference and Webcast, featuring:
- Ivan Seidenberg, Chairman, President and CEO of Bell Atlantic Corp.
- Dennis Strigl, President and CEO of Bell Atlantic Mobile and President and CEO of the new wireless company
- Lowell McAdam, CEO of PrimeCo Personal Communications and COO of the new wireless company
Tuesday, April 4, 200011:00 AM - 12:00 Noon (EST)
The Millennium Hotel's Hudson Theater, New York City145 West 44th Street (between Broadway and 6th Avenue)
Dial 1-800-530-9601 in the U.S.Dial 212-346-6462 outside the U.S.
URL to be announced
Available for download at 2:00 p.m.Coordinates: C_BAND:/TRANSPONDER/AUDIO 6.2 & 6.8####