BEDMINSTER, NJ — Bell Atlantic Mobile today announced that nearly one quarter of all new customers signing up for wireless service opt for its high-quality digital service -- DigitalChoiceSM. As a result, digital now accounts for close to 20 percent of the usage on the company's network. This is due to the company's aggressive digital network build-out and pricing strategy, which has proven successful in making DigitalChoice appealing to a wide range of customers.
Bell Atlantic Mobile has invested over $300 million in digital network expansion since the start of 1998 to meet the record demand for affordable digital service -- making DigitalChoice even more attractive for customers to purchase and use, with digital coverage extending to more than 80 percent of Bell Atlantic Mobile's POPs (population served).
Bell Atlantic Mobile, with 80 percent POPs coverage, ranks well above the cellular industry average of 50 percent POPs coverage, according to a recent study by the Yankee Group, an information technology market research firm.
The company launched digital service in all its major markets in 1997 and has quickly expanded the high-quality network during the first half of this year. In fact, the rollout of digital service during the past six months in such places as upstate New York, the eastern shores of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, and the New Jersey shore, enables customers to enjoy for the first time the use of DigitalChoice in these heavily-traveled summer locales.
Bell Atlantic Mobile is an industry trend-setter in introducing pricing for digital service that makes the technology accessible to all types of customers. In March, the company made significant price reductions, and eliminated landline charges and peak/off-peak distinctions. The company also introduced new consumer-friendly options for digital service, including a digital phone rental option, an all-you-can-use mobile-to-mobile pricing plan, and a traveler calling option that allows customers to use their digital phone at a reduced uniform rate of 50-cents anywhere in the U.S., by paying a flat fee of $5 a month.
"We built an expansive, high-quality digital network and we want our customers to have the full advantage of this new technology," said Jack Plating, Bell Atlantic Mobile's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "With added value and benefits like extensive roaming capabilities and pricing options for everyone, now is the perfect time for customers to go digital."
Bell Atlantic Mobile's DigitalChoice delivers increased call reliability, greater voice clarity, enhanced privacy and an array of advanced features. And customers can use their phones virtually anywhere in the U.S. because Bell Atlantic Mobile's wireless service can switch seamlessly to the analog network in geographic areas of the country where a digital network is not available.
Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East, covering 112,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data and paging. Based in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has 5.5 million customers and 7,000 employees from Maine to Georgia and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. Through its "Wireless at Work..." community relations program, the company uses its technology to help individuals and communities improve security and emergency communications. Bell Atlantic Mobile's parent is one of the world's largest wireless communications companies, with domestic operations in 25 states and international investments in Mexico, Europe and the Pacific Rim. For more information on Bell Atlantic Mobile visit: www.bam.com; on global operations visit: www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide.