PITTSBURGH, PA — Bell Atlantic Mobile increased its local employment by 25 percent for the second year in a row, capping a decade of growth highlighted by the addition of more than 300 employees locally during that period and the introduction of numerous new services including digital technology and sophisticated wireless data applications. "Our digital services are leading the way in bringing the latest technology to consumers and businesses," said Jerry Fountain, regional vice president for Bell Atlantic Mobile in Pittsburgh. "We continue to focus on customers and their needs, thus enabling us to maintain a strong leadership position in the wireless industry in western Pennsylvania."
Bell Atlantic Mobile commercially launched DigitalChoicesm, its CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) digital service in early 1997. Throughout the year, demand for digital services steadily grew as consumers and businesses alike took advantage of the high quality technology.
An easier and more affordable way for business people to fully access the Internet and their corporate intranets while away from the office was introduced last summer with Bell Atlantic Mobile's AirBridge® Internet Access.
"For a flat monthly fee of $54.95, AirBridge Internet Access allows customers to work remotely to check e-mail, look up data on corporate databases or visit any site on the World Wide Web simply by connecting a wireless modem to their laptop computer," Fountain explained.
With an investment of more than $200 million in the Pittsburgh network over the last five years, Bell Atlantic Mobile continues to enhance local service to maintain the highest quality for calls, to expand the footprint of coverage and to upgrade the area to digital capabilities.
"Superior network, superior service," Fountain said, "that is the commitment we have made to this region. We are dedicated to giving our customers the highest quality in the network they use as well as from our sales and customer service staffs that serve them."
Consumer demand continues as a driving force in the wireless services business in this region. Fountain said added competition in the area has given consumers more choices and gives Bell Atlantic Mobile the opportunity to showcase its superior offerings in products and service.
"We continuously review our products, service offerings and pricing plans to give our customers the newest technologies and the best selections," Fountain continued.
Focusing on customer convenience led to the opening of a number of new retail outlets during 1997 including sales kiosks in the Franklin Village Mall in Kittanning, in the Beaver Grove Complex in DuBois, in the Wal-Mart stores in Clearfield and St. Marys, PA and in Weston, West Virginia; as well as in the Sun TV stores in Cranberry Township and Washington, Pennsylvania.
Consumers are also reaping the benefits of wireless data transmissions in situations where they may not even be aware that wireless technology is at work. Utility firms use Bell Atlantic Mobile's wireless network to monitor pipeline pressure; vending machine companies can ensure product freshness and availability with remote wireless data transmissions; and wireless point of sale capabilities allow cab companies, pizza delivery drivers and other remote sales operations to accept credit cards and obtain instant approval wirelessly.
Continued Community Involvement
The company expanded its commitment to community service during 1997 when Bell Atlantic Mobile's HopeLineTM was launched with the Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. The program, which has been used by Salvation Army homeless shelters for three years, provides free voice mail to the residents to assist them in obtaining housing, employment or medical services.
"We are strongly committed to western Pennsylvania," Fountain concluded. "We moved to a new headquarters during the last quarter of the year, and look forward to continued growth in the coming year."