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DELTA AIR LINES TO OFFER DIGITAL-COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES TO PASSENGERS WITH THE GENSTAR SYSTEM FROM GTE AIRFONE

 OAK BROOK, Ill., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- GTE Airfone today announced an agreement with Delta Air Lines to equip more than 400 Delta aircraft with the GenStar(TM) system, GTE's digital-telecommunications system for airline passengers.
 Digital transmission improves call quality through clearer signals than current analog technology. In addition to high-quality air-to- ground telephone calls, the GenStar system also can provide such new passenger services as ground-to-plane calling, conference calls, and data and fax capability.
 Under terms of the agreement, GTE Airfone will install the GenStar system on Delta's Boeing 757, 737-200/300, A310, MD 80/90 and Delta Shuttle aircraft beginning the second quarter of 1993. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Delta has provided air-to-ground telephone services since 1984 with GTE Airfone's analog system, and has been testing GTE's digital communications on the Delta Shuttle since last fall.
 "Delta's choice of the GenStar system introduces a new era in passenger communications services," said Robert C. Calafell, GTE Airfone president. "With the GenStar system, Delta passengers will soon enjoy modern office communications as they fly."
 "Today's travelers need the ability to communicate instantly, wherever they may be -- even at 40,000 feet," said Whit Hawkins, Delta's president and chief operating officer. "The GenStar system will bring new convenience and capabilities to make our passengers' Delta flights more enjoyable and productive."
 Passengers Hear the Digital Difference
 GTE Airfone has been testing digital air-to-ground telephone services on selected Delta Shuttle and United Airlines aircraft since October. The ongoing engineering and marketing tests are part of GTE Airfone's phased introduction of the GenStar system.
 To evaluate digital-telephone service in a real-life environment, GTE installed digital radios on board the aircraft and in the ground stations that serve the test aircrafts' routes. The ground radio stations direct call signals received from the aircraft to the public telephone network. The radios were manufactured for GTE by Magnavox Government and Industrial Electronics Co., and are a key part of the GenStar system.
 "Our tests show that the radio transmission is robust and reliable, and the majority of surveyed passengers can easily distinguish the superior clarity of digital calls," Calafell said. "We have a proven digital system in operation and are on schedule for the fully featured GenStar system."
 Fully Digital System
 In addition to digital radios, the complete GenStar system will feature new digital handsets and a sophisticated aircraft private branch exchange (PBX) to link on-board phones and ground radio stations. Installed in the seat backs, the digital handsets will have a built-in liquid crystal display (LCD) for menus, prompts and other messages as well as "RJ-11" jacks for connecting personal computers and portable fax machines.
 GTE Airfone is also implementing a specially designed "intelligent network" that will enable passengers to receive calls from the ground as well as call other passengers -- not just on their own plane, but on other planes as well.
 The intelligent network will ensure calls are handed off without disconnection from one ground station to the next. Call hand-off means a traveler could literally place a call over New York and keep talking until the plane reaches Chicago, with no loss of call quality. The innovative system design also makes possible such features as personal phone numbers and rapid, customized development of new services.
 Prompts Make Calling Easy
 Despite its technological sophistication, the GenStar system is easy to use. For data, fax, information or phone services, passengers will follow easy-to-understand prompts available in six languages on the handset's LCD and press the appropriate numbers on a keypad. Messages on the LCD will also signal incoming phone calls for passengers who have registered to receive calls.
 On international flights, GTE Airfone can also provide links to aeronautical satellite systems that enable passengers to use any of the GenStar system's services when the aircraft is out of range of GTE Airfone's North American ground network. GTE Airfone has installed such satellite-based service on United and other airlines. The GenStar system also is designed to access the planned European terrestrial network for complete worldwide availability.
 The Airfone(TM) System is available on more than 1,900 aircraft operated by 11 U.S.-based airline companies and Air Canada. Customers have placed more than 23 million calls on the system since its inception in 1984.
 GTE Airfone is a wholly owned subsidiary of GTE Corp. (NYSE: GTE), which is the fourth-largest publicly owned telecommunications company in the world.
 -0- 1/19/93
 /CONTACT: Sharon Cohen-Hagar of GTE, 708-575-1448, or after 6 p.m., 708-717-6302/
 (GTE)


CO: GTE Airfone; Delta Air Lines ST: Connecticut IN: TLS SU:

GK -- NY077 -- 6452 01/19/93 14:44 EST
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Date:Jan 19, 1993
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