ATLANTA — GTE Wireless' value-based marketing programs-from prepaid to national no-roaming, no-toll plans-recently pushed subscriber totals for the company beyond the 5 million customer mark. GTE Wireless President Mark Feighner announced the milestone noting GTE Wireless' growth was achieved in markets contested by three to five GTE competitors.
"We are reaping the benefits of value-based marketing," said Feighner. The new GTE Choice(sm) plans, which offer flat-rate local, regional or national roaming, have attracted almost 500,000 new customers since they were launched in late January. New group calling packages for small businesses rolled out in June, and the relaunch of prepaid in July - complete with lower prices and advertising focused on taking budget worries out of the wireless decision - are also expected to power growth. GTE Wireless' continuing network expansion, which this year doubled digital capacity in its California, Florida and Texas markets, will help the company support that growth.
"We've been listening to customers and acting on what we hear," said Feighner. "The GTE Choice plans, small business packages, prepaid, digital capacity and features like text messaging and voice mail, are a direct response to customer desires for simple pricing, economy, superior quality, and features that make life easier. We're going to keep listening, and acting."
GTE Wireless inaugurated its first wireless system in Indianapolis in May 1984, and by year-end was also providing service in Cleveland, Houston, St. Petersburg and Tampa. Acquisitions and mergers have since enlarged GTE Wireless' coverage areas to portions of 17 states across the nation. In April 1999, GTE entered an agreement to purchase Ameritech's wireless markets in Chicago, Central Illinois and St. Louis, a transaction expected to close this year that will add 1.7 million customers to GTE Wireless' 5 million subscribers. Following the planned GTE/Bell Atlantic merger, the combined company will be one of the largest wireless providers in the United States, with the potential to serve subscribers in nine of the top 10 U.S.-based markets.
"We are strongly positioned for future growth and focused on expansion at all ends of the customer spectrum," said Feighner.
GTE Wireless provides wireless voice and data telecommunications services to approximately 5 million customers in 17 states. GTE Wireless is a part of GTE Corp. (NYSE:GTE). With 1998 revenues of more than $25 billion, GTE is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies and a leading provider of integrated telecommunications services. In addition to its wireless operations, GTE provides local telephone service in 28 states, nationwide long-distance and internetworking services ranging from dial-up Internet access for residential and small-business consumers to Web-based applications for Fortune 500 companies, as well as video service in selected markets. Outside the United States, the company serves nearly 9 million telecommunications customers.