Customers Clamor For Wireless That Works The Way It Should

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Customers Clamor For Wireless That Works The Way It Should

Bell Atlantic Mobile Uses New Testing To Ensure Its Network Measures
Up

May 18, 1999

Media
contact:

Lynette F. Viviani, 973-283-9228
Robin B. Nicol, 908-789-4719

ORANGEBURG, NY -- Now that one of four Americans depend on their
wireless phones for important business deals and pressing family matters,
they're turning up the heat on wireless companies in the New York metro
area to make sure their calls go through. They want reliability, not just the
hottest prices.

That's why Bell Atlantic Mobile today, for the first time, unveiled its
secret weapon in the battle for wireless network superiority in the New
York area -- a souped-up blue station wagon loaded with a quarter-million
dollars worth of sophisticated equipment travels the market to objectively
measure the service quality of competing digital wireless carriers. Simply
put, it's quality assurance on wheels.

Bell Atlantic Mobile drive testing means the station wagon is on the road
day in and day out, traversing the region typically from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
five days a week, logging some 3,000 miles each month. These drive tests
show that Bell Atlantic Mobile customers are far more likely to connect
and hold their wireless calls than customers using competing analog and
digital networks.

To maintain that lead, the company will invest nearly three-quarters of a
billion dollars in its network company-wide this year, a good portion in
the New York area, which has some of the country's most savvy and
demanding wireless consumers.

"Network reliability is at the core of wireless service and the key
factor customers look for in wireless," said Charles Hand, president
of Bell Atlantic Mobile's New York Metro area. "Some forty
percent of net new customers choose our popular all-inclusive price plans
like DigitalChoice®SingleRate, but attractive pricing and high-tech
phones mean nothing if our network cannot keep up with growing
customer demand."

With six different companies, operating on four different technological
platforms, measuring the reliability of each network -- fairly and
consistently -- is no small task. In fact, the computerized monitoring
equipment and software that allow network engineers to simultaneously
compare all networks were only recently made available.

At the heart of the drive tests is an array of portable wireless phones
mounted in the station wagon's cargo area and hooked up to the computer
equipment, each one making repeated calls on the wireless networks of
one of the six companies licensed to serve the region -- Bell Atlantic
Mobile, AT&T Wireless Services, Omnipoint, Sprint, Nextel and, in
Monmouth and Ocean Counties, NJ, Comcast. Thousands of calls are
made from each phone, each month.

Protruding from the roof, like quills on a porcupine, are 15 antennas
strategically located to give each wireless phone inside the car an equal
chance of picking up the signal from the service provider it monitors.

Hand said monitoring the performance of the company's network using the
new equipment challenges Bell Atlantic Mobile to exceed its own
benchmarks and strive to remain the best wireless service provider in the
area.

"It has been said that 'if you build it, they will come.' At Bell
Atlantic Mobile we also believe that if they come, we must provide them
with a network that allows them to connect and complete their calls. We
will continue to measure our performance and employ the latest and best
technology to design, optimize and operate a network that lets the calls go
through."

In the NY/NJ Metro Region, Bell Atlantic Mobile was named leader in overall
customer satisfaction among wireless users, according to the prestigious JD
Power and Associates 1998 US Wireless Customer Satisfaction Study. New York
Magazine also selected Bell Atlantic Mobile as the best wireless service provider
in the New York area in its May 3, 1999 "Best of New York" cover
story.

Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East,
covering 120,000 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 6.4 million customers and 8,000 employees from Maine to
Georgia and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. 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.

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