Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Verizon Communications is a New York City-based local exchange telephone company formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic, a former Bell Operating Company, and GTE, which was the largest independent local exchange telephone company in the US, with presence in most all of the continental United States and Hawaii. Prior to its transformation into Verizon, Bell Atlantic previously merged with another Bell Operating Company, NYNEX, in 1996.
The origins of this company began as NYNEX, and was created as one of the original Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) in 1984 from New England Telephone & Telegraph and New York Telephone .
In Gibraltar, it had a 50 per cent stake in a joint venture with the Government of Gibraltar, called Gibraltar Nynex Communications, also known as GNC or GibNynex. The Nynex name was retained after the US parent company's merger with Verizon, before being dropped in 2002 in favor of Gibtelecom, although it is still used colloquially in Gibraltar.
Bell Atlantic meanwhile, was also created as one of the original RBOCs from the former Bell of Pennsylvania, New Jersey Bell, and Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Companies. Until its merger with NYNEX in 1996, Bell Atlantic operated in the U.S. states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia as well as Washington, DC. when it merged, it moved to New York City as its main headquarters. NYNEX was consolidated into this name by 1997.
General Telephone and Electronics (GTE) was the largest of the "independent" telephone companies during the days of the Bell System. It would later merge with the second largest independent, Continental Telephone . They also owned Automatic Electric, a telephone equipment supplier similar in many ways to Western Electric. GTE provided local telephone service in a large number of areas of the U.S. GTE operated in Canada via controlling interest in subsidiary companies such as BC TEL and Quebec Tel.
Its former Canadian subsidiaries have combined with the former Alberta Government Telephones (AGT) to create TELUS, the second largest telecommunications carrier in Canada.
Details on the Bell Atlantic-GTE Merger
The mergers that formed Verizon were among the largest mergers in United States business history, culminating in a definitive merger agreement, dated July 27, 1998, between Bell Atlantic, based in New York City since the merger with NYNEX in 1996, and GTE, which was in the process of moving its headquarters from Stamford, Connecticut, to Irving, Texas.
The Bell Atlantic-GTE merger, priced at more than $52 billion at the time of the announcement, closed nearly two years later, following analysis and approvals by Bell Atlantic and GTE shareowners, 27 state regulatory commissions and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and various international agencies. Meanwhile, on September 21, 1999, Bell Atlantic and London-based Vodafone AirTouch Plc (now Vodafone Group Plc ) announced that they had agreed to create a new wireless business with a national footprint, a single brand and a common digital technology -- composed of Bell Atlantic's and Vodafone's U.S. wireless assets (Bell Atlantic Mobile (which was previously called Bell Atlantic-NYNEX Mobile by 1997), AirTouch Cellular, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging). This wireless joint venture received regulatory approval in six months, and the wireless joint venture began operations as Verizon Wireless on April 4, 2000, kicking off the new "Verizon" brand name. GTE's wireless operations became part of Verizon Wireless -- creating what was initially the nation's largest wireless company before Cingular Wireless acquired AT&T Wireless in 2004 -- when the Bell Atlantic- GTE merger closed nearly three months later. Verizon then became the majority owner (55%) of Verizon Wireless.
Following the Merger
Verizon shares were made a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average on April 8, 2004 . Verizon currently has 140.3 million land lines in service. It also has more than 16 million long distance customers. As of 2003, it has more than 203,000 employees. Verizon serves customers throughout much of the United States. The states that it provides service to include California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Verizon is currently in the process of deploying and testing FTTP (Fiber To The Premises) to some subscribers. This service provided by Verizon is entitled "FiOS," and is planned to offer three package levels: 5 Mbit/s downstream / 2 Mbit/s upstream, 15 Mbit/s downstream /2 Mbit/s upstream, and 30 Mbit/s downstream / 5 Mbit/s upstream. More information can be found at the Verizon Fios Internet Service website.
Media coverage has focused on several ways in which that acquisition, once completed, will benefit Verizon, including economies of scale derived from a potential productivity boost to be achieved via the elimination of thousands of jobs at the combined company, and access to the large base of business customers currently served by MCI.
However, the real benefit to Verizon is the acquisition of long-haul lines. While it is the largest telecommunications company in the world, the bulk of Verizon's profitable business is concentrated in the eastern United States. This not only renders the company, effectively, a regional phone company, but also forces it to pay usage fees to a long-haul carrier such as MCI to complete calls for its customers whenever those calls go outside the Verizon "footprint". That need is obviated by the MCI acquisition.
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