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WIRELESS GROWTH DEFIES PREDICTIONS -- BELL ATLANTIC MOBILE HITS 1 MILLION CELLULAR CUSTOMER MARK; COMPANY GROWS 45% DURING 1993

 PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- When Diane Walker called a Bell Atlantic Mobile sales representative last week, she was surprised to learn that she had become the one millionth customer of Bell Atlantic Mobile (BAM), one of the largest and fastest-growing carriers in a national industry that today serves nearly 14 million cellular telephone customers.
 Walker, who is general manager of staffing at Skilled Nursing in Flourtown, Pa., was already familiar with Bell Atlantic Mobile. Skilled Nursing is currently a BAM customer, and the company's nurses now use 50 cellular phones in conjunction with pagers.
 According to Dennis F. Strigl, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic Mobile, some 40 percent of the company's new customers are like Walker -- they want to use wireless cellular technology for both business and personal reasons.
 "In the next 10 years wireless communications will allow people to send all kinds of information in any form, at any time, and anywhere," Strigl says.
 "Based on promising new applications for voice and data services, the national market for wireless will continue its rapid growth during the 1990s, reaching some 67 million subscribers by the year 2000."
 Walker typifies the new profile of cellular users, which continues to change dramatically since the national launch of commercial cellular phone service in 1983. At that time, cellular phones weighed 25 pounds and cost $3,000 each, and customers were almost exclusively business users, primarily purchasing car phones.
 Walker, on the other hand, will receive a total communications package, including a handheld portable phone that can also function as a car phone, and Bell Atlantic(R) ContactLine(SM) Service.
 ContactLine Service, part of Bell Atlantic Mobile's portfolio of personal communications offerings, allows customers to integrate cellular, paging, voice mail, and landline service.
 Walker is living proof that cellular technology's growth has defied predictions. Back in 1983 forecasters -- who believed they were being optimistic -- said that the U.S. market for cellular phones would reach perhaps 900,000 customers by the year 2000.
 Those assumptions were based on then-current technology and product prices. Nevertheless, in only ten years, cellular phones have become part of the daily lives of 14 million customers. By comparison, it took 22 years for fax machines to reach the 10 million customer milestone.
 Since 1983, BAM has been in the forefront of major wireless technological developments. In 1993, BAM spent more than $200 million expanding its coverage and services, and launched a Personal Communications Service (PCS) trial in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. That trial is expected to lead to commercial PCS service in 1994.
 After developing a ubiquitous national wireless voice service in the 1980s, the cellular industry in the 1990s is tapping the totally new and rapidly-expanding market for wireless data services. With 49 million mobile workers in the United States today, it is expected that the wireless data market will grow to between $8-10 billion by the year 2000.
 BAM recently introduced its Bell Atlantic(R) AirBridge(SM) family of wireless data services and has announced plans to deploy Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) technology in all of its major markets by the end of 1994.
 To commemorate reaching its million-customer milestone, BAM will donate $10 to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children for each new phone sold through the company's Philadelphia-region network of Communications Stores during January.
 Representatives of St. Christopher's will join Tom Bartlett, Bell Atlantic Mobile's regional vice president, at a press briefing today, to present Walker with a special commemorative phone and other wireless services. (Editors -- see note below.)
 Bell Atlantic Mobile's cellular operations constitute the largest cellular carrier on the East Coast and one of the fastest growing cellular carriers in North America, serving markets with a total population of 35 million. Bell Atlantic Mobile provides cellular service and equipment in Washington, D.C., and 15 states in New England, the mid-Atlantic, the Carolinas, and the Southwest. Headquartered in Bedminster, N.J., the cellular communications divisions are subsidiaries of Philadelphia-based Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL).
 -0- 12/28/93 R
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: The press briefing with representatives of St. Christopher's and Tom Bartlett will be held in the company's Center City Philadelphia Communications Store at 2:30 p.m. today/
 /CONTACT: Karen Ann Kurlander, 908-306-7552, or Brian R. Wood, 908-306-7508, both of BAM; or Mary McPartland of Hill and Knowlton, 212-697-5600, for BAM/
 (BEL)


CO: Bell Atlantic Mobile ST: Pennsylvania IN: TLS SU:

GK -- NY037R -- 8062 12/30/93 12:38 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 30, 1993
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