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GTE Expects Growth in Non-Traditional Areas

The parent of Thousand Oaks-based GTE California expects much of its future growth to come from four businesses not related to GTE’s traditional mainstay of local phone service.

But just as they plan to invade new areas, parent company GTE Corp. and its Ventura County-based subsidiary face new competition in their time-honored domain of providing local telephone services.

The expected growth areas are television, wireless communications, data transmittal and international operations, according to GTE Corp.'s chairman and chief executive, Charles Lee.

Lee said Thousand Oaks will be the scene of a major push in the company’s cable TV activity. “All four of those thrusts will add significantly to our financial performance both at the top line and the bottom line, going forward,” he said in a financial forum late last month.

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Stamford, Conn.-based GTE Corp., like many other phone companies, hopes to provide one-stop shopping for its customers. “We want to provide bundled services,” Lee said. “Our whole goal is to create a bundled series of products where we will have the best, the most capable and broadest product offering to these customers.”

But GTE, like the seven regional Bell operating companies, will face a host of new competitors in the local phone market. Telecommunications deregulation is expected to increase competition among long-distance and local phone companies as well as in cable TV.

Initially, GTE may focus on wireless and cable TV services. As the second-largest U. S. cellular company, the firm already has a head start in its wireless operations.

GTE Corp. has more than 2 million cellular customers, about 10% of the U. S. market, and is adding subscribers at a rate of 45% a year, Lee said. The company is bidding aggressively in the government’s auction of wireless phone licenses, he added.

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GTE hopes that cable TV services will also boost its future revenue and earnings, Lee noted. “We think it will be one of our significant and important growth engines over the next five or 10 years.”

The company’s proposed video network is being tested in California, Lee reported. He said the firm hopes to receive approval in the next couple of months from the Federal Communications Commission to build more cable TV networks.

If approval is received, GTE plans to launch cable services initially in Thousand Oaks, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Manassas, Va., and Honolulu.


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