Verizon Wireless Launches Three Year, $100 Million Call Center Service Improvement Plan

BEDMINSTER, NJ — Verizon Wireless today announced a three-year, $100 million call center improvement plan, as part of its commitment to continue delivering superior customer service during a period of strong growth for the wireless industry.

The company's customer service staff is expected to expand to 14,700 from 13,800 by the end of the year, an increase of 6 percent. Similar job growth is projected for 2002 and 2003.

"This expansion plan positions Verizon Wireless to efficiently handle the increased business and consequent increased customer contacts we are experiencing today and anticipate in the future," said Lowell McAdam, Verizon Wireless executive vice president and chief operating officer.

The company will open new call centers in Rancho Cordova, CA, Pittsburgh, Greenville, SC, and Salt Lake City. Call centers in Wallingford, CT, Alpharetta, GA, Elgin, IL, Southfield, Mich., Rochester, NY, Dublin, OH, Orangeburg, NY and Columbia, SC, will be updated and expanded.

Nine of the company's 33 call center facilities are not capable of meeting its expansion needs. Four centers - Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, Warrendale, PA, and Folsom, CA -- will be moved to new larger sites locally. About 700 employees at five centers closing in Englewood, CO, Marion, Ill., Woburn, MA, Las Vegas, Nev. and Harrisburg, PA will be offered relocation packages to stay on the Verizon Wireless payroll elsewhere. This announcement follows the previous consolidation of the company's Tampa, Fla. call centers.

"We value the skills of our employees and will offer relocation packages to ease the transition," McAdam said. "But if they decide not to take advantage of our incentives, severance packages and outplacement services will be provided.

"In order to grow the business and create new jobs, we made the difficult decision to scale back in a few locations. But we're excited to be announcing expansion plans in twelve communities and look forward to being a part of their economic future."

The wireless industry is still experiencing healthy growth. The most recent CTIA industry survey [June '99 to June '00] showed national customer growth up 27.2 per cent, carrier service revenues up 21.7 per cent, and industry employment up 12.5 per cent.

"To take advantage of this growth, we need to invest," added McAdam. "We have already announced plans to spend more than $4 billion nationwide on network improvements and committed almost $9 billion in the FCC's recently concluded spectrum auctions. We are confident in the future of this business."

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with 27.5 million wireless voice and data 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 38,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at