Verizon Wireless Expands Digital Service in Marion County, Florida

OCALA, FL — In an effort to provide the best wireless service for local residents and visitors throughout Central Florida, Verizon Wireless has expanded its digital network by constructing a new site near Ocala in Marion County. The site is located in Reddick on Interstate 75, providing high-speed wireless coverage and capacity on one of the state's most heavily traveled highways, as well as for residents and businesses along nearby U.S. Highway 441 and State Road 25.

The enhanced cell site is part of the nation's largest wireless provider's aggressive multi-million dollar network investment each year in Florida, designed to stay ahead of the growing demand here for wireless voice and data services like picture messaging and Internet access. In 2003, Verizon Wireless invested more than $180 million in Florida to further expand and enhance its all-digital network — bringing the company's network investment in the state to nearly $600 million over the past three years.

This investment makes it possible to offer customers the most reliable service available on the nation's largest wireless network. The company's most reliable network claim is based on network studies performed by real-life test men and test women who inspired the company's national "Can you hear me now?" advertising campaign. They conduct more than 300,000 calls monthly on Verizon Wireless' and other national wireless carriers' networks while traveling over 100,000 miles across Florida — including I-75 and Marion County's main roads -- in specially-equipped, company-owned quality test vehicles. *

"The Marion County network expansion allows us to meet the growing need of local businesses and consumers for their voice calls and data applications, like our high-speed NationalAccess and two-way picture messaging service," said Mike Lanman, Florida region president of Verizon Wireless.

"And with wireless users now able to take their numbers when they switch carriers, a strong network has proven to be crucial to attracting and retaining customers," added Lanman.

NationalAccess is one of the company's nationwide high-speed wireless data networks, providing fast wireless Internet service with bursts up to 144 kilobits per second (kbps). NationalAccess gives users full Internet access, intranet access and traditional email functionality via a laptop at unprecedented speeds for wireless access. Users can expect average speeds between 40 and 60 kbps, significantly higher than speeds being produced by competing technologies and comparable to, if not faster, than what PC users get when using a dial-up Internet service.

The newest high-speed data service from Verizon Wireless is BroadbandAccess, which provides average transfer speeds of 300-500 kbps. Verizon Wireless will roll out BroadbandAccess throughout Florida in 2004.

Over the last three years, Verizon Wireless has invested about a billion dollars every 90 days -- more than $12 billion -- in its nationwide network, offering customers access to the most extensive wireless voice and data network in the United States.

* Test Man Ride-Along ProgramThe specially equipped Verizon Wireless test vehicles simultaneously test seven wireless providers, using a computerized program to generate phonically diverse "conversations." If you are interested in setting up an interview or ride-along with a local member of the Verizon Wireless team of real-life test men and women, contact Chuck Hamby at 813-615-4803 or via email at  

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 37.5 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 To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log onto