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Bell Atlantic Mobile Records Year of Continued Growth In Pittsburgh
Local Wireless Users Rank Bell Atlantic Mobile Leader in Customer
Satisfaction; Strong Digital Sales Mark New Consumer Trend
January 14, 1999
PITTSBURGH, PA -- Digital wireless service gained in popularity so much in
recent months that nearly every new Bell Atlantic Mobile customer in western
Pennsylvania now selects DigitalChoicesm . That trend culminated a year in
which, in the Pittsburgh market, Bell Atlantic Mobile was ranked the leader in
overall customer satisfaction among wireless users, according to the prestigious
J.D. Power and Associates 1998 U.S. Wireless Customer Satisfaction Studysm*.
This year, the company also dedicated its new Pittsburgh Regional Headquarters,
experienced continued regional employment growth, welcomed a new regional
vice president to the area, greatly expanded its digital network and launched
numerous new services for businesses and consumers.
"Expansion of the company's digital coverage area, coupled with the launch of
digital SingleRate plans which eliminate long distance and roaming charges, have
made digital service more attractive to the consumer than ever," explained Roger
Tang, who became regional vice president for Bell Atlantic Mobile in Pittsburgh
"This tremendous growth has fueled our business expansion in western
Pennsylvania throughout the last year with our local employment up nine percent
in 1998," Tang continued. "We expect to add more than 30 new jobs to the
Region in the coming year."
Tang said he is especially pleased with the positive feedback from customers
throughout the region as expressed in the J.D. Power and Associates 1998 U.S.
Wireless Customers Satisfaction Studysm. He feels many things contributed to
this ranking including the firm's local-based Customer Service operations, the
investments the company makes in its constantly expanding western Pennsylvania
network and the wide variety of services recently introduced which are targeted at
specific customer needs.
Network Expansion and Enhancements
Bell Atlantic Mobile has invested more than $220 million in the Pittsburgh
network over the past five years, expanding digital coverage into eight additional
counties in the last twelve months, and enhancing overall service to all customers
in the region. Improvements were made in nearly 60 different locations in
western Pennsylvania and West Virginia to keep the increased volume of calls
going through with the highest quality.
Newest Services Target Specific Consumer Needs
While increasing demand for digital service was the driving force behind new
services in 1998, a number of additional calling plans and options were introduced
to meet the needs of specific consumer segments and specialized business needs.
DigitalChoice SingleRatesm plans were the most popular product offerings of the
year. When introduced in the fall, these plans gave business and consumer digital
customers alike the benefits of single rate pricing with no roaming or long
distance charges. A modest cost of entry, with monthly access pricing starting at
$39.99, attracted consumers, boosting digital sales to record levels.
Earlier in the year, Bell Atlantic Mobile launched an unlimited mobile-to-mobile
calling option. This 'all you can use' plan provides a competitive price point that
is both predictable and economical for customers who communicate frequently
with other digital phone users on the Bell Atlantic Mobile network.
MobileMinutessm pre-paid cellular calling cards, available since Spring, offer
consumers cellular service with no monthly bills, no monthly access fee, no credit
checks, and no security deposit. This pay-as-you-go system, designed for people
seeking control over their cellular expenses, is popular with those who haven't yet
established credit and for those who simply want the comfort and predictability of
paying as they go.
The Bell Atlantic Mobile Online Store opened for business in September as the
first of its kind offering a fully automated "store" on the company's Web site. By
visiting the store at www.bam.com and following a few easy steps, consumers can
order and complete the purchase of wireless service, cellular phones and
accessories that fit their needs.
Serving the Community
Bell Atlantic Mobile continued its strong commitment to giving back to the
communities it serves by expanding its support of a number of charitable
activities. Celebrating its tenth anniversary as the corporate sponsor of the Cystic
Fibrosis Foundation's Pittsburgh Pirates 65 Roses Club, the company continued
to make a donation for each Pirate home run hit during the baseball season,
bringing the company's total contributions to more than $124,000.
In support of Bell Atlantic Mobile's national effort to assist victims of domestic
violence, the Pittsburgh Region expanded its free voice mail HopeLine program
to five additional domestic violence shelters: Alle-Kiski Area HOPE Center,
WOMANSPLACE of Western Pennsylvania, Crisis Center North, Washington
Women's Center and the Volunteers Against Abuse Center of Butler County, Inc.
Women and their children who seek housing and assistance at these locations now
have a new link to potential employers, housing and social services. The
Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh has been using HopeLine for
more than a year.
As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, Bell Atlantic Mobile
invited local businesses to send managers to the company's Pittsburgh
headquarters for a free seminar on how to identify and intervene for employees
who may be victims of domestic violence. Earlier in the year, the firm's
Pittsburgh employees conducted a "Diaper Drive," collecting more than 3,000
diapers and toiletry items for the littlest victims of domestic violence.
Bell Atlantic Mobile recycled more than 100 personal computers in November,
donating these to a dozen local non-profit organizations. Groups plan to use the
free equipment for everything from computer literacy training for the homeless
and educational programs for children to simple office tasks for which they
previously had no equipment.
More Growth Anticipated
"The coming year promises even greater challenges as technologies advance and
our markets continue to grow," Tang concluded. "We will aggressively continue
to lead the wireless industry in Pittsburgh with the highest quality network and
# # #
Editor's Note: Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless
network in the East, covering 116,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail
outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data and paging. The company's
Pittsburgh Regional Headquarters are in Thorn Hill Industrial park in Marshall
# # #
*J.D. Power and Associates study based on responses from 10,706 wireless
telephone subscribers in 22 of the top North American markets. The Pittsburgh
market covers: Allgheny, Beaver, Washington and Westmoreland Counites.