Verizon Wireless Collecting Used Wireless Phones to Fight Domestic Violence (Arizona/New Mexico)

ARIZONA/NEW MEXICO — Anywhere from 12-15 million wireless phones will be replaced in the United States this year, leaving millions of wireless phones to gather dust in drawers and closets. A national program was launched locally today to help put these phones to good use.

Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless company in the nation, has joined the Wireless Foundation, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Motorola to help collect one million used wireless phones to benefit victims of domestic violence. The initiative coincides with efforts for National Wireless Safety Week, which runs the week of May 22.

"Special drop boxes are available in our Arizona and New Mexico Verizon Wireless retail locations to make it easy and convenient to drop off wireless phones that are no longer being used," said Jerry Gallegos, regional president for Verizon Wireless in Arizona and New Mexico. "The phones will be recycled and brought back into communities to provide security and mobility to women in domestic violence situations. Ultimately, these phones will help save lives."

Through CALL to PROTECT, wireless companies provide free wireless phones and airtime to aid victims and their advocates. CALL to PROTECT is a wireless industry initiative that provides domestic violence victims with wireless phones that are pre-programmed with emergency numbers so that they can access help at the touch of a button.

Verizon Wireless stores in Arizona and New Mexico will serve as collection points for used wireless phones, batteries and chargers until July 1, 2000. To receive a tax receipt, donors must provide contact information at the time of donation.

"Every day, 5,000 women across the United States become victims of domestic violence. The CTIA Wireless Foundation is pleased to partner with Verizon Wireless and Motorola on this life-saving initiative," said David Diggs, executive director, Wireless Foundation. "It is through the generosity of wireless carriers and manufacturers, and the response of concerned citizens across America that these phones, or safety tools, can be placed in the hands of victims in need."

Wireless industry analysts estimate that there are currently as many as 24 million inactive wireless phones in people's homes and businesses.1

For more information about the Donate a Phone program, visit their web site at Donations can also be sent to: CALL to PROTECT, c/o Brightpoint, Inc., 501 AirTech Parkway, Doors 23/24, Plainfield, IN, 46168.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with over 18 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by combining the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE:BEL) and Vodafone AirTouch Plc (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). The new company includes assets from Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. Cellular One Kansas/Missouri was previously owned and operated by AirTouch Communications.

Verizon Wireless will be further strengthened by the wireless assets of GTE Corp. (NYSE:GTE) when it completes its merger with Bell Atlantic. Once complete, the new company will have a footprint covering more than 90% of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50, and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is 30,000 employees strong.

About the Wireless Foundation

The Wireless Foundation was established in 1993 by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) to initiate and oversee strategic philanthropic wireless communications programs to make communities safer, families more secure and teachers more effective in the classroom.

1 Source: Hershel Shosteck & Associates & CTIA, February 200