Verizon Wins One Million New York Long Distance Customers; Hits Target Five Months Earlier Than Expected

NEW YORK - Verizon Long Distance blew away its first year-end target, signing up one million New York customers in seven months -- five months ahead of schedule.

To mark the momentous occasion, the company is donating $1 million to five charities that have had a positive impact on New York state.

"This is our way of saying thanks a million, New York!" said Maura Breen, Verizon group president - Long Distance. "Thanks to New Yorkers' confidence in us we eclipsed our goal and continue to sign up thousands of long distance customers each day."

Breen said additional details about the long distance company's performance outlook will be made available when Verizon Communications announces second quarter earnings results next Tuesday (Aug. 8). Verizon Long Distance is a subsidiary of Verizon Communications, which was formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE.

"Since January, we have been delivering great customer service and easy-to-understand long-distance plans that feature terrific rates and no monthly plan fees on our most popular offerings," said Breen. "New Yorkers obviously know a good thing when they see it. Making this donation is our way of giving something back to a community that has supported us."

Verizon is encouraging its customers to be part of the donation process by selecting the charity they want to receive a contribution. In the next few weeks, the company will send a letter to its long-distance customers, thanking them for choosing Verizon Long Distance and asking them to select from five organizations. They are:

Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest children's literacy organization. In New York State, RIF serves more than 260,000 at-risk kids a year with new, free books and essential reading motivation programs. Nationwide, RIF annually distributes more than 14 million books to almost four million children.

The American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) supports research to develop an AIDS vaccine, improved HIV/AIDS treatments, and ultimately, acure. Behind the headlines of virtually every major research advance against AIDS over the past 15 years, you will find a cutting-edge project funded by amfAR.

The National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations is a leading non-profit information and education resource on breast cancer in the U.S. serving patients, their families and friends, medical professionals, the media, and the general public.

America's Promise, led by retired Gen. Colin L. Powell, is mobilizing people from all sectors of American life to build the character and competence of our nation's youth.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America promotes and enhances the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence.

Customers can learn about the campaign one of two ways. They can call 1-800-965-0604 any time, any day. Or they can go to Verizon's Web site, www.callbell.com/onemillion.

Once the votes have been tallied, the company will send each organization a contribution based on the percentage of votes received from customers.

"We have built this business around customer choice," said Breen. "First, we gave customers a much-needed choice for long-distance service that features simple plans for all types of callers. Now we're giving customers a say on where they want the million-dollar contribution to go."

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 95 million access lines and 25 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.