A Cell Phone In Every Pocket?

The bidding war over AirTouch reflects the explosive growth in wireless calling

The bidding is fast and furious. Bell Atlantic Corp., according to analysts, opened with a stock-swap offer for AirTouch Communications Inc. valued at nearly $45 billion over New Year's weekend. Never mind that Bell Atlantic is still awaiting approval to buy GTE Corp. for more than $60 billion. But its audacious AirTouch bid, which Bell Atlantic acknowledged on Jan. 3, was quickly topped by Vodafone Group PLC. According to analysts, by Jan. 6, the British wireless upstart was offering $54 billion in cash and stock--about $10 billiOn more than Bell Atlantic was willing to pay.

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