New Prepaid Program Encourages Customers To Use Old, No Longer Used Wireless Phones

ALBANY, N.Y. - Have you ever wondered what to do with your old wireless phone after upgrading to a newer model? Customers of Verizon Wireless, formerly Bell Atlantic Mobile, in Upstate New York can now put their unused wireless phones to good use thanks to the company's new prepaid service.

The new service eliminates prepaid long distance charges for the first time in the area, allowing these customers to phone coast-to-coast or locally at the same reduced rate, provided the call is made in the customer's home territory. The new option allows customers to put prepaid minutes on their old or unused wireless phone without paying an activation fee when upgrading service on a traditional wireless calling plan and activating the older model handset on a prepaid service plan.

Verizon Wireless customers can now activate their old or unused wireless phone and use it as a second wireless phone for a spouse, college student, or family member. First time wireless users can also benefit from the new service.

Prepaid wireless allows consumers to choose to pay for service in advance and buy more airtime whenever they need it. Prepaid plans free consumers from having to sign a contract, pay a monthly fee or go through a credit check.

"Prepaid plans are a great option to keep a teenager within a calling budget or to have an extra phone without worrying about an additional monthly bill," said Bob Stott, Northeast regional president of the newly formed Verizon Wireless, which is a combination of Bell Atlantic Corp's and Vodafone AirTouch Plc's U.S. wireless assets. "Now, consumers can put those extra wireless phones to good use instead of letting them accumulate dust."

According to the Yankee Group, there are approximately five million prepaid wireless users in the United States. They estimate that number will increase to 25 million by 2003.

This Verizon Wireless "no activation fee" offer is now available at company Communication Stores and in Radio Shack retail locations throughout New England and the New York Metro area.

Users can purchase $30, $50 and $100 allotments of prepaid service minutes and experience the same quality service and reliability of the company's traditional wireless services. The local per-minute rate can be as low as 35 cents, including wireless long distance, on $100 wireless prepaid cards. The plans also allow customers to use this service for the same per-minute rate while traveling throughout Verizon Wireless' extensive Northeast service area.

Prepaid customers will have up to 150 days to use their allotted pre-paid minutes or can renew existing minutes already purchased when adding more minutes to their prepaid plan. A unique feature of the company's prepaid service is the built-in voice notification system, which indicates how many minutes are available for each call so users know when they need to replenish their account.

Current Verizon Wireless customers and those interested in the new prepaid calling plans can find out more information by visiting a local Communications Store, shopping on-line at www.verizonwireless.com or by calling 1-800-466-4646.

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 18 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless company was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE:BEL) and Vodafone AirTouch Plc (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. Verizon Wireless will be further strengthened by the addition of the wireless assets of GTE Corp. (NYSE:GTE) when it completes its merger with Bell Atlantic. The new company will have a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is 30,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more Verizon Wireless information at