Verizon Wireless, the nation's most reliable wireless network, today announced significant network investments of over $170 million in Georgia in 2004, with plans to further enhance and expand its network in 2005. The overall investment added network capacity across the state, including sizeable investments in rural and suburban markets and the addition of two state-of-the-art switching centers, so that Verizon Wireless could continue delivering on the company's "best network" promise. The switching centers create back up support within the network and connect our customers' calls making Verizon Wireless the most reliable network available. The company also added many jobs in the state, hiring over 350 employees in Georgia this year.
ALPHARETTA, GA — "Georgia's wireless customers are making their choice, and increasingly they are choosing Verizon Wireless. As evidence of that, Verizon Wireless customers in the Georgia-Alabama Region used over 11.2 billion minutes of airtime in 2004, a considerable increase over the 5.1 billion minutes used in 2003." says Jim McGean, President Verizon Wireless Georgia/Alabama Region. "We'll continue to focus on meeting our customers' growing wireless needs by delivering on our brand promise the best wireless voice and data network."
An example of Verizon Wireless' dedication to the Georgia wireless network is its commitment to superior network performance during major events-as customers tend to use their service more-to keep in touch with family members, to meet up and find each other and discuss plans after the event. To manage all of this activity, Verizon Wireless added back up generators to cell tower sites and has COWs (Cell On Wheels) that travel throughout Georgia wherever additional network capacity is needed most. Back up generators and COWs ensure that Verizon Wireless service is there for our customers when they need it the most. COWs were used most often in 2004 to provide capacity on university campuses during college football games and at other highly attended events such as the NASCAR races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. COWs were also deployed during times of crises during the 2004 Hurricane season.
Major Milestones in 2004G-8 Summit: Verizon Wireless spent $9 million in the permanent expansion of its network in Georgia's Savannah and Golden Isles coastal region in preparation for the G8 Summit held in that area in 2004. Verizon Wireless participated in the G8 Wireless Technical Working Group and took the lead in the industry-wide effort building out the wireless network that was critical to communications during the international summit. The network enhancements included 14 new cell cites and capacity enhancements at 34 additional sites in the coastal region.
No More Wires for Atlanta: Another major development in the Georgia Verizon Wireless network in 2004 was the deployment of BroadbandAccess in the Atlanta market. BroadbandAccess is the fastest commercially available high-speed wide-area wireless Internet access service in the nation, with typical user speeds of 300-500 kilobits per second (kbps). With data transmission bursts up to above 2 Megabits per second (Mbps), BroadbandAccess customers in Atlanta can now download a 1 Megabyte email attachment (for example, a small PowerPoint presentation), or receive three digital pictures (each 400 x 600 pixels) in less than 20 seconds. In greater Atlanta, Verizon Wireless' BroadbandAccess covers all of Metro Atlanta including Marietta, Smyrna, Sandy Springs, Decatur and College Park, Forest Park and East Point; parts of Alpharetta; parts of Gwinnett County, including Tucker. More markets in Georgia will come online in 2005.
Take Your Number With You: Verizon Wireless also implemented the second phase of local number portability (LNP) in May 2004, allowing customers statewide to change wireless carriers while keeping their phone numbers. Verizon Wireless was able to switch customers in Georgia with few issues and led the industry in providing consumer information about LNP and encouraging fair business practices regarding the issue. Verizon Wireless, breaking from the industry, recently eliminated their regulatory fee on all customers' bills for costs associated with LNP.
Added Retail Locations and Major Partnerships: As a result of an exclusive partnership with Circuit City, Verizon Wireless added 21 retail locations in Georgia in 2004, bringing their direct retail outlet total to 77 throughout the state. Through the exclusive agreement, Verizon Wireless opened and operates Verizon Wireless stores in all Circuit City locations. In addition, the company established a partnership with Best Buy to offer Verizon Wireless products and services in all locations statewide.
"We are committed to providing the best service to our customers no matter when and where they need service," says McGean. "The developments and investments we undertook in 2004 are in direct response to the remarkable growth in the demand for our wireless service. We will continue to answer the call of our Georgia customers to deliver to the highest-quality, most reliable wireless network, the best customer service and valuable products and services."
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 www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.####