GTE Corporation, formerly General Telephone & Electric Corporation (1955–1982), was the largest independent telephone company in the United States during the days of the Bell System. The company operated from 1926, with roots tracing further back than that, until 2000, when it merged with Bell Atlantic; the combined company took the name Verizon.
Originally founded as Associated Telephone Utilities, it went bankrupt in 1933 during the Great Depression, and reorganized as General Telephone in 1934. In 1991, it acquired the third largest independent, Continental Telephone (ConTel). They also owned Automatic Electric, a telephone equipment supplier similar in many ways to Western Electric, and Sylvania Lighting, the only non-communications-oriented company under GTE ownership. GTE provided local telephone service to a large number of areas of the U.S. through operating companies, much as American Telephone & Telegraph provided local telephone service through its 22 Bell Operating Companies.
The company also acquired BBN Planet, one of the earliest Internet service providers, in 1997. That division became known as GTE Internetworking, and was later spun off into the independent company Genuity (a name recycled from another Internet company GTE acquired in 1997) to satisfy Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requirements regarding the GTE- Bell Atlantic merger that created Verizon.
GTE operated in Canada via large interests in subsidiary companies such as BC TEL and Quebec-Téléphone. When foreign ownership restrictions on telecommunications companies were introduced, GTE's ownership was grandfathered. When BC Tel merged with Telus (the name given the privatized Alberta Government Telephones (AGT)) to create BCT.Telus, GTE's Canadian subsidiaries were merged into the new parent, making it the second-largest telecommunications carrier in Canada. As such, GTE's successor, Verizon Communications, was the only foreign telecommunications company with a greater than 20% interest in a Canadian carrier, until Verizon completely divested itself of its shares in 2004.
In the Caribbean, CONTEL purchased several major stakes in the newly independent countries of the British West Indies (namely in Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago).
Prior to GTE's merger with Bell Atlantic, GTE also maintained an interactive television service joint-venture called GTE mainStreet (sometimes also called mainStreet USA) as well as an interactive entertainment and video game publishing operation, GTE Interactive Media.
GTE may refer to
- GTE Corporation, formerly General Telephone & Electronics Corporation (1959-1982), the largest independent telephone company in the United States during the days of the Bell System
- Global Telecoms Exploitation, a secret British telephonic mass surveillance programme run by the British signals intelligence and computer security agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
- Generic Tile Engine, a 2D tile engine developed for the Apple IIGS personal computer and written in 65816 assembly language.
- GTE Financial, an American credit union
- LM GTE (Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance), a set of regulations maintained by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) for grand tourer racing cars used in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and its associated series