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Seidenberg: going the distance with GTE

01 September 1999

Bell Atlantic appears to be on the verge of obtaining approval from the FCC to offer long-distance services and merge with GTE. Projected merger synergies and its ability to offer new services, such as long distance and data, including DSL, are key to the operator's growth. Ivan Seidenberg, Bell Atlantic's chairman and CEO, talks to Mark Holmes about these issues.

Bell Atlantic is one of the largest telcos in the US. After the proposed merger with GTE, it would become one of the top four global players. The merged company would have estimated pro forma revenues of over $63 billion.
Bell Atlantic also hopes to gain approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to offer long-distance services at the end of this year. So far, however, the FCC has rejected all RBOC applications, claiming that the RBOCs have failed to open up their markets to competition. The situation seems to be changing.

The operator hopes to close its merger with GTE within the next nine months. Once these two major obstacles have been overcome, Bell Atlantic will face other challenges to maintain strong earnings growth, as Simon Flannery, telecoms equity analyst at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, explains: "I think that they have to close the merger which is tied to long distance, but there...