Shareholders of Contel Cellular Inc. have filed two separate lawsuits in an attempt to block GTE Corp.’s $224 million bid to purchase the remaining 10 percent of the shares of Contel it doesn’t yet own.

The lawsuits, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, claim the $224 million offer for the shares is inadequate.

One lawsuit was filed on behalf of Arnel Gonzalez and the other by Airmont Plaza Associates. Both are Contel shareholders.

GTE, based in Stamford, Conn., acquired Contel Corp., the cellular operator’s parent, in 1991 for $6.2 billion. More than 9 million Contel Cellular shares, about 10 percent of the company, are held by outside investors and were not part of the GTE deal to purchase Contel Corp. GTE would not comment on the pending lawsuits.

New area code

An unexpected demand for phone numbers has forced the telecommunications industry in Colorado to assign the new area code 970 to the northern and western parts of the state now served by area code 303.

Area code 303’s record growth is due in part to the introduction of new, competitive telecommunication services. Households and businesses that 10 years ago had one or two numbers now demand three and four, for facsimile machines, cellular telephones, computer modems and pagers.

Three are honored

Three leaders in wireless have received the “nation’s highest technology award” for performing visionary work that improved the world, said the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Three winners of the six 1994 National Medal of Technology awards are telecommunication pioneers Irwin M. Jacobs, chairman and chief executive officer of Qualcomm Inc.; Joel S. Engel, vice president of technology for Ameritech; and Richard H. Frenkiel, retired from AT&T Bell Laboratories.

Jacobs was selected for his innovative work in digital wireless during the last 25 years, specifically his development of Code Division Multiple Access technology. Engel and Frenkiel were awarded jointly for their pioneering work in creating cellular communications, beginning with their work in Bell laboratories during the 1960s.

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