INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone Group (NYSE and LSE: VOD), today announced its total customers grew to 29.4 million at the end of 2001, an almost 10 percent increase over year-end 2000. During the fourth quarter 2001, the company added 715,000 net new customers.
"I'd like to thank our Indiana customers for contributing to this nationwide increase," said Wayne White, president of Verizon Wireless in the Kentucky/Indiana/ Michigan region. "As the largest wireless carrier in the nation, we believe it's vital to provide our customers with the highest quality of wireless service and from what our customers are telling us, we're doing a pretty good job."
The company continued its strong focus on the quality and profitability of its customer base, as evidenced by a number of key results. Total churn decreased from the previous year to a monthly average of 2.5 percent, with post-paid churn at 2.1 percent, an industry-leading customer retention level. During the quarter, more than 80 percent of gross additions were contract customers, and gross additions from company-owned outlets, one of the most profitable distribution channels, were up year-over-year.
In 2001, the company continued to invest significantly to expand and enhance its premier network. More than $4B was invested nationwide, resulting in a 13 percent increase in cell site coverage, deployment of two-way SMS (short messaging service) throughout the network, and more than 20 percent of the network converted to next generation 1XRTT technology, capable of high-speed data transmission.
"Fourth-quarter growth was solid and in line with the disciplined strategy we set at the beginning of the year to focus on the quality and profitability -- not just the quantity -- of our customer base," said Denny Strigl, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless. "With our premier network, we want to ensure that we attract and retain customers who will use and value our product most."
Full performance results for Verizon Wireless for the fourth quarter and full year will be included in Verizon Communications' announcement of financial results on January 31.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the leading wireless communications provider in the U.S., with the largest wireless network and more than 29.4 million customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 97 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.
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