Even at the North Pole, Santa Can Hear Him Now

NORTH POLE, NY — Ron Kocienski is only asking Santa one thing this Christmas: "Can you hear me now?"

Kocienski's daily travels across Upstate New York's highways and out-of-the-ways testing Verizon Wireless' digital network recently brought him to North Pole, N.Y., the home and workshop of Santa Claus, nestled on the side of Whiteface Mountain. As associate network engineer for Verizon Wireless, it's Ron's job to make sure the company is meeting the wireless voice and data needs of its customers-both in cities and in more rural areas like the North Pole.

North Pole is part of the company's Upstate New York Region where Verizon Wireless invests nearly $100 million annually to stay ahead of the growing demand among businesses and consumers for quality voice and data services. Nationwide, Verizon Wireless invests nearly $1 billion in its wireless voice and data network every 90 days to make it the best wireless network in the country.

Verizon Wireless' commitment to being the most reliable network is what inspired the company's national "Can you hear me now? Good." advertising campaign. Kocienski and the rest of the company's real-life test men and test women conduct more than 300,000 call attempts monthly on Verizon Wireless' and other national wireless carriers' networks while traveling over 100,000 miles nationwide in specially equipped, quality-test vehicles.

Equipped with $250,000 worth of sophisticated testing equipment, Kocienski logs nearly 1,400 miles each week across the Upstate New York Region in his company car, a Ford Taurus. The vehicle has eight antennae, one for each wireless service provider it monitors, as well as two Global Positioning Systems to record exact location during testing.

Phones in the vehicle repeatedly dial and redial into the local wireless networks carefully delivering voice messages created by Harvard University staff. The messages-including such phrases as "a chicken is a rare dish" and "he ran halfway to hardware store"-use the right number of syllables and consonants to mimic a real conversation.

"This network testing program helps Verizon Wireless ensure that we meet and exceed our customers' growing demand for their voice calls and data applications, including our National Access high-speed wireless data network and two-way text messaging service," said Gene Fassett, executive director of Network for Verizon Wireless' Upstate New York Region.

Verizon Wireless' investment in baseline testing is part of the company's commitment to ensure that it continues to offer customers the most reliable service available on the nation's largest wireless network.

About Santa's WorkshopSanta's Workshop in North Pole, N.Y. has offered family entertainment since 1949. Santa and his helpers provide warmth, entertainment and delight for children and enable adults to recapture some of their own magical memories. For more information, please visit www.northpoleny.com.

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 36 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com.