Family Calling Plan Popularity to Explode Within the Next Five Years

IRVINE, Calif. — A growing number of families are staying in touch and secure by equipping each family member with a cellular phone, relying on wireless communication to help them manage what they want to do and must do, to stay connected with family and friends, and to call for help in an emergency. In fact, according to The Strategis Group, a telecommunications research and consulting firm, family-calling plans offered by wireless carriers will explode in popularity in the next five years, growing to 18 million subscribers by 2004.

A recent report from The Strategis Group states: "calling plans essentially let families turn wireless phones into a form of wireless intercom. The market for customized group calling plans targeted at families is substantial because 57 percent of wireless phones are used by members of households that have more than one wireless phone."

To meet the growing demand for family wireless use, Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless carrier, offers special group calling plans that make it simple and affordable for Southern California families to keep in touch as members go their separate ways.

Verizon Wireless' Family SharePlan program includes six calling plans that enable families to subscribe to up to four lines of service. A bundle of mobile-to-mobile, and night and weekend minutes accompanies each line, plus all lines share a pool of anytime minutes.

"A wireless phone offers parents and children convenience, safety and added peace of mind," said Verizon Wireless Regional President, Mike Finley. "As prices for wireless phones and service continue to drop, many families are turning to wireless to help them balance their busy lives."


About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with 26.3 million wireless voice and data customers and 3.5 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp - now Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) -- and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. The company has a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Verizon Wireless, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 32,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at:

Editor's Note:

From now through November 30, or while supplies last, Verizon Wireless is offering up to four free Audiovox 9000 phones when customers sign up for the Family SharePlan program. The Audiovox CDM 9000 digital phones, which are offered exclusively from Verizon Wireless, feature three hours of talk time, hands-free operation, voice activated dialing and a built-in Internet mini-browser. A one or two-year service agreement is required and the offer is subject to the terms of the service agreement and price plans. Credit approval, early termination fees, other charges, and restrictions may also apply.

Each line included in Verizon Wireless Family SharePlan program features 250 mobile-to-mobile minutes, and either 250 night and weekend minutes or 250 domestic long distance minutes. In addition, each line shares a pool of airtime comprised of 200 to 3,000 anytime digital minutes, depending on the plan. Monthly group access rates start at $19.99, plus $15 per month for each line of service.

The 250 local mobile-to-mobile minutes included with Verizon Wireless' Family SharePlan program, may be used for calls by eligible Verizon Wireless customers placing a call to, or receiving a call from, family members or other Verizon Wireless customers when calling mobile-to-mobile within their local calling area (typically a geographic area where families live and work). For example, Verizon Wireless customers in the five-county, Greater Los Angeles area, or San Diego County, can keep in touch with their family, friends, business partners - anyone with Verizon Wireless service - and talk for up to 250 minutes without incurring any airtime charges.