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Thursday, November 18, 1999


Hawaii PUC approves
GTE-Bell deal

The state consumer advocate
had objected, saying the
$82.8 billion deal would
threaten competition here

Star-Bulletin

Tapa

The state Public Utilities Commission has approved GTE Corp.'s merger with Bell Atlantic Corp. despite opposition from Hawaii's consumer advocate and rival companies.

The approval came with one condition: that the merged company report to the PUC any merger-related savings and revenue gains attributable to its Hawaii service.

The company must provide such reports annually for seven years or until its next rate case, whichever comes later, according to the PUC.

Now that Hawaii has approved the $82.8 billion merger, which would create the nation's largest phone company, it needs the blessing of only four more states and the Federal Communications Commission.

GTE has said the merger would benefit consumers, but state Consumer Advocate Michael Wilson argued that it would pose a threat to local telephone competition.

Wilson said the PUC, if it approved the deal, should require the merged company to refund to Hawaii customers a portion of any savings.



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