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AMERITECH ANNOUNCES SWEEPING CHANGES TO EXPAND CUSTOMER CHOICE, RESTRUCTURE BUSINESS

 CHICAGO, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Ameritech (NYSE: AIT) today announced a sweeping plan to take advanced communications into every home, office and school in its region under the single brand name "Ameritech."
 "Our efforts are clearly focused on helping our customers realize the promise of the information age," said William L. Weiss, Ameritech chairman and chief executive officer. "We are fundamentally redesigning how we operate. We are putting the forces of change into fast-forward to accelerate the evolution of competition in all facets of our industry. We can think of no better place for the innovation we propose than here in the economically diverse Midwest."
 Ameritech said it is creating 12 business units -- 11 organized around specific customer groups, plus a single business unit that will run the company's network in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Ameritech's Bell companies will continue to function as legal entities owning current Bell company assets in each state.
 Currently, customers often deal with multiple Ameritech companies. Under the new structure, Ameritech customers eventually will have a single point of contact to order their telephone service, arrange for their communications equipment, and handle their advertising needs in directories or by toll-free 800 lines, for example.
 "We are committed more than ever to putting the customer at the absolute center of all that we do," Weiss said. "In effect, the customer will call the shots in determining how he or she wants to be served by us. This concept is in direct response to what our customers have told us they want from Ameritech. By harnessing our marketing initiatives and services under a single brand name, we are dramatically simplifying the process for customers."
 Following are the 12 business units expected to be in place by 1994:
 -- Ameritech consumer services
 -- Ameritech small business services
 -- Ameritech enhanced business services
 -- Ameritech custom business services
 -- Ameritech long-distance services
 -- Ameritech information industry services
 -- Ameritech telephone industry services
 -- Ameritech pay phone services
 -- Ameritech advertising services
 -- Ameritech cellular services
 -- Ameritech leasing services
 -- Ameritech network services
 The Ameritech network unit will be the source of network capabilities for products and services offered by the Ameritech business units, as well as by other companies. The network group will be responsible for development and day-to-day operation of the Ameritech network serving 12 million customers and more than 17 million access lines.
 On the subject of regulation, Weiss said Ameritech will call for sweeping regulatory changes "to encourage full and unfettered competition in our local telephone network in exchange for new business freedoms."
 Ameritech will file a detailed plan with the Federal Communications Commission in early March that will pave the way for Advanced Universal Access and assure broad availability of modern communications services.
 Called "Customers First: The Ameritech Advanced Universal Access Plan," the proposal will outline how Ameritech proposes to open its local telephone network to competition by separating its transport services from switching services, which direct telephone calls. This will provide consumers with the same type of options in picking local telephone service that they have today in selecting their long-distance service.
 "We're calling on the FCC to establish the policy framework for an advanced universal information architecture that will take the nation into the next century," Weiss said, adding that the Ameritech proposal would let other service providers in the Midwest purchase components of Ameritech's network to repackage with their own services for resale.
 In return, Ameritech seeks:
 -- Price regulation to replace earnings regulation
 -- Flexibility in the pricing of new and competitive services
 -- The ability to provide long-distance service, which today it is banned from offering
 "This plan will create high-quality jobs, improve education and health care, and enable more people to work at home," Weiss said. "It addresses some of the major issues facing our nation, while at the same time providing the consumer with the right of free choice."
 With FCC and state regulatory commission approval of the plan, and permission for Ameritech to provide long-distance service, another company in Ameritech's region can establish its own switching center, connect directly to Ameritech's distribution network, then provide dial tone to any customer, much as telephone companies do today.
 Additionally, Ameritech will propose that where competition exists, the marketplace, not regulators, should determine prices. Similar proposals have been or will be outlined with public service commissions in Ameritech's five-state region.
 "We view this proposal as a breakthrough solution for our region that would mark an end to the turf battles that have stifled the communications industry, hampered economic expansion, and limited the growth of consumer options and services," Weiss said.
 "The result would be a fully competitive marketplace wherein the consumer would be the ultimate beneficiary, because companies would have to keep prices competitive and quality high in order to succeed. In addition, new services would grow; businesses would gain access to new markets; and job growth would spur the economy."
 Ameritech said it will proceed with its restructuring, separate from the federal regulatory initiative.
 Coincident with today's announcement, Ameritech has named Walter S. Catlow, Ameritech Services vice president of access services, as president of Ameritech long-distance services; Roger L. Plummer, Ameritech Information Systems president, as president of Ameritech enhanced business services; and John E. Vaughan, Ameritech Services general manager of product development and information services, as president of Ameritech information industry services. The three will report to Ameritech Vice Chairman Richard C. Notebaert.
 Ameritech said it will complete the selection of business unit leadership early this year. According to the company, initial efforts of each business unit head will include identifying the skills and work force size needed to achieve the unit's goals. Weiss emphasized that the Ameritech restructuring is not a resizing process, and that current employees of Ameritech companies will be assigned to specific business units according to unit requirements and employee skills and preferences.
 Weiss commended the "innovative work and diligent efforts" of hundreds of employees who have been involved in planning efforts during the past year. He said the new market-focused units will have rooted in their operations "the same intense dedication to customer service and the same obsession with quality that have been Bell company hallmarks.
 "We are a strong business today, and we've undertaken this transformation from a position of strength to assure we remain strong in the future," he said. "Clearly, our intent is to grow our business profitably so we can continue to serve our customers well, generate value for our shareowners, and provide challenging and rewarding career opportunities for our employees."
 Ameritech is a leader in providing full-service communications and advanced information services to about 12 million customers in the Midwest. It also has operations in New Zealand, Poland and other international markets. Its 1992 revenues were $11.2 billion, and assets exceed $22 billion.
 -0- 2/22/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Ameritech is holding a news conference at 10 a.m. CST today. Reporters' questions about these actions will not be addressed before the news conference. See earlier transmittal for news conference sites/
 /NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: The entire news conference, plus supplemental visuals, will be available at 12 p.m. CST today via C-Band, Galaxy VI, Transponder No. 11/
 /CONTACT: Steve Ford, 312-750-5205; Laura Littel, 312-750-5219; or Mike Brand, 202-955-3050, all of Ameritech/
 (AIT)


CO: Ameritech ST: Illinois IN: TLS SU:

TS-GK -- NY028 -- 8853 02/22/93 10:01 EST
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Date:Feb 22, 1993
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