Verizon Wireless Purchases Mountain Cellular in Northern California From Sierra Tel Group

BEDMINSTER, NJ — Verizon Wireless announced today it has completed the purchase of Mountain Cellular from the Sierra Tel Communications Group, which will expand Verizon Wireless' network footprint to include Northern California's El Dorado County. Financial terms are not being disclosed.

The purchase includes Mountain Cellular's spectrum license and network assets of 21 cell sites and related network equipment. The license covers a population of 170,000 people in El Dorado County, stretching along Highway 50 from El Dorado Hills to South Lake Tahoe. Highway 50 is a key travel route in the region, heavily used by area residents and visitors attracted to the beauty of Lake Tahoe.

Verizon Wireless will begin serving Mountain Cellular's approximately 10,000 customers immediately. The company will integrate the Mountain Cellular CDMA network into Verizon Wireless' 1XRTT CDMA network in phases, adding capacity early in 2005 to handle call volume from existing Verizon Wireless customers and installing high-speed data capabilities by year-end 2005.

"This is an important acquisition for existing Verizon Wireless Sacramento area customers, many of whom travel in and out of Mountain Cellular's coverage area during the course of their day," said Rich Garwood, president-Northern California/Nevada region, Verizon Wireless. "We look forward to completing the network integration to offer the benefits of America's best, most reliable network to the Mountain Cellular customers who will be joining us."

Verizon Wireless has invested more than $4 billion every year since its inception -- and expects to spend more than $5 billion this year -- to increase the coverage and capacity of its national network and add new capabilities. The company's investment in its network in California alone has exceeded $3 billion since Verizon Wireless was formed in mid-2000.

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 42.1 million voice and data 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