Verizon Wireless Expands Service Coverage In Central Illinois With Two New Cell Sites

SCHAUMBURG, IL — Verizon Wireless has expanded service coverage in Central Illinois with two new cell sites. The expansion is part of the company's $4 billion investment in network improvements nationwide in 2001, $22.5 million of which is dedicated to its network in Central Illinois.

"We at Verizon Wireless are proud of the fact that we invest a great deal of capital to make sure our customers have unsurpassed wireless service," said Tracy Nolan, president - Illinois/Wisconsin Region. "These new cell sites will provide customers who live in and travel through the areas with greater wireless network coverage and increased clarity when making wireless calls."

The new digital sites are located in Gifford and Lexington. The former will provide service in and around Gifford and along U.S. Route 136, west of Rantoul. The latter will provide service in and around Lexington and along I-55 between Bloomington and Lexington.

The $22.5 million investment is designed primarily to enhance Verizon Wireless' digital wireless network so the company can deliver the most advanced wireless voice and data services to its customers. Verizon Wireless has expanded coverage and increased capacity on its switching centers and cell sites to handle the strong demand for its wireless services. In addition, the company has begun to upgrade its network with third generation (3G) wireless technology that offers wireless Internet services at speeds 10 times faster than available today.

Customer growth, greater usage due to high-value pricing like SingleRateSM national and regional plans, and the popularity of Mobile Web wireless internet services are driving local demand for Verizon Wireless' services.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 28.7 million wireless voice and data customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD), including Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular and GTE Wireless. Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 97 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at