Catching up with its fellow Baby Bells in the acquisition of fast-growing cellular phone properties, Bell Atlantic on Sept. 24 agreed to snap up Metro Mobile CTS for $1.65 billion in stock and the assumption of $800 million of Metro Mobile's debt. For now, Bell Atlantic becomes the fifth-largest cellular operator in terms of potential subscribers, with 33.6 million. It gains strength in the Northeast cellular market and gets access to parts of the South and Southwest.

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