Bell Atlantic Mobile to Open Leading Edge Customer Service Call Center Near Columbia, Creating 500 Local Jobs

COLUMBIA, SC — To keep pace with the fast growth and popularity of its SingleRate(sm) digital wireless service, Bell Atlantic Mobile announced plans today to expand its extensive customer service operation on the East Coast by opening a new customer call center near Columbia this summer. The call center will create 500 new jobs, mostly for skilled customer service representatives to answer the growing number of customer calls. The center will be located in the Richland Mall in Richland County. "We had a 50 percent jump in customers during the first quarter over last year, thanks to the popularity of our SingleRate digital price plans," said Jack Plating, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Bell Atlantic Mobile. "Explosive growth means additional customer calls - 35 percent more in fact over the last three months - and to keep providing top-notch customer service Bell Atlantic Mobile is building this new customer service center to handle the increasing call volumes."

The new facility will use the latest in customer service center technology. "Our aim is to never put a customer on hold when they want to speak to us," said Plating. "The use of intelligent call routing will enable us to answer the phones more quickly and attend to customer requests much faster through real-time routing of calls to the call center with the next available customer service expert." The 500 customer service specialists at the Center will receive extensive training, and ongoing instruction by a strong team of trainers and coaches. "Bell Atlantic Mobile's newest facility will offer our talented workforce wonderful career opportunities with an innovative company on the leading edge of wireless technology," said S.C. Secretary of Commerce Charles S. Way, Jr. "With more than 7 percent of the state's workforce in high technology industries, it's wonderful that Bell Atlantic Mobile will increase the number of our citizens in one of the fastest-growing industries in the world," said Governor Jim Hodges. "South Carolina is well positioned to build on this foundation for high-tech jobs and we are pleased that Bell Atlantic Mobile will be an important part of that foundation for growth." "Columbia provides us with a talented, experienced workforce, and a first-rate facility in an area where we already have a significant presence," said Plating. The company operates a regional headquarters in Greenville, SC and a large wireless network operation in Charlotte, NC.

SingleRate East is the company's popular flat-rate pricing option for customers who want large buckets of included minutes each month, with no roaming or long distance charges when calling from the East Coast to anywhere in the U.S. SingleRate USA customers enjoy a flat-rate for calls made to and from anywhere in the country. Bell Atlantic Mobile is looking for people with customer service experience to work at the new center. Anyone interested in applying for a job at the call center should fax their resume to 908-306-6839 or apply on-line on the company's website,

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In the New York, Boston, Washington/Baltimore and Pittsburgh markets, Bell Atlantic Mobile was named leader in overall customer satisfaction among wireless users, according to the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates 1998 U.S. Wireless Customer Satisfaction Study. (sm) 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. Through its "Wireless at Work..." community service program, the company uses its technology to help individuals and communities improve security and emergency communications. Bell Atlantic Mobile's parent, Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE:BEL) 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:; on global operations visit: