Verizon Wireless Invests $100 Million in Connecticut to Maintain Network Advantage; Hires 300 Employees

EAST HARTFORD, CT — Verizon Wireless, the nation's leading wireless provider, has invested more than $100 million into its extensive wireless network in Connecticut over the past 12 months, and $4 billion nationwide, to significantly increase coverage and add capacity to continue to stay ahead of the company's record customer demand. The company also plans to make a comparable network investment in 2004, both in the state and across the country.

To support the strong customer growth, Verizon Wireless has hired more than 150 customer-facing employees in Connecticut this year, including store sales and customer care representatives, direct sales staff, call center representatives, and Network engineers. The company intends to hire more than 140 more staff in coming months for a total of about 300 for the year. Verizon Wireless currently employs more than 1000 people state-wide.

Since new federal rules went into effect in late November 2003, allowing wireless customers to keep their phone numbers when they change carriers, Verizon Wireless has gained significantly more new customers who have switched providers and held onto their wireless numbers than it has as lost to its competitors in Connecticut. For example, Verizon Wireless has gained four customers that chose to keep their numbers for every one it has lost to Cingular Wireless in the state, a 4-1 ratio. In addition, Connecticut residents, through a number of recent readers' polls in local newspapers, have selected Verizon Wireless as the best wireless provider in Connecticut, mirroring a similar trend across the country.

Verizon Wireless invests more than $1.2 billion every 90 days into its nationwide wireless network. The company's reputation for having the most reliable national wireless network is based on network studies performed by real-life test men and women who inspired the company's national television advertising campaign, and confirmed by third part testing.

These baseline engineers place more than 300,000 calls monthly on Verizon Wireless' and other national carriers' networks while traveling over 100,000 miles nationwide in specially equipped company-owned test vehicles containing $300,000 worth of sophisticated testing equipment. These tests consistently show calls on the Verizon Wireless network connect and stay connected more frequently than calls made on other national carriers' networks. Backup generators, which provide alternate power during commercial power outages, also were included in the company's capital program.

Readers of Hartford Magazine, Hartford Advocate, and the Fairfield County Weekly all ranked Verizon Wireless best in Connecticut in recent readers' polls.

The 2004 Fairfield County Weekly Reader's Poll summed it up best after its readers ranked Verizon Wireless best: "Verizon (Wireless) has done one heck of a job fulfilling its promise to have the best and largest calling network in all the land. Reception is possible even in the un-likeliest of places. Such, it seems, explains the stranglehold Verizon has had on this category. It truly is the best."

Reporting on The Hartford Advocate Best of Hartford Readers' Poll, the publication wrote, "Verizon Wireless is one of the world's leading providers of wireless communications service, and according to the company's website, the "largest" provider of wireless communications in the United States. It would seem that a huge chunk of them live in the Hartford region, and voted in the Advocate's annual readers' poll" in which its readers ranked Verizon Wireless the best.

Hartford Magazine readers also rated Verizon Wireless as the best provider.

"These results clearly show wireless customers appreciate the quality and value the best wireless service provides," said Bob Stott, president of Verizon Wireless' New England Region. "Customers choose us because they want service they can depend on, and are telling us the overwhelming reason they choose Verizon Wireless is to get the best wireless network. Our number one goal will continue to be providing the best wireless network for our customers here in Connecticut and across the country."

Note to Editors and Reporters:Specially-equipped Verizon Wireless test vehicles simultaneously test the networks of all major wireless providers. If you are interested in setting up an interview or ride-along test drive with your locally based Verizon Wireless test man or woman, please contact J. Abra Degbor at 781-481-1314.

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 40 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