$740 Million Investment Benefits Californians As Verizon Wireless Grows And Enhances Its Network

WALNUT CREEK, CA — Verizon Wireless today announced it invested more than $740 million in 2005 to expand and enhance its wireless voice and data network in California. The project, which began in January 2005, broadened the company's voice network and increased the network's call capacity by 40% to keep up with consumer demand for wireless service in the state. The project also included adding and expanding consumer- and business-focused applications, such as V CAST and BroadbandAccess, as part of a broadband network expansion that now includes markets throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento region, and southern California.

Verizon Wireless' California network investment, which totals nearly $4 billion since 2000, has been key to maintaining customer loyalty. "We lead the industry in customer loyalty because we focus on what consumers care about the most — being able to complete their calls," said Rich Garwood, Northern California/Nevada region president. "We will continue to invest in our network in California, delivering superior network reliability and the advanced wireless services our customers want and need."

Highlights of network upgrades in the Northern California Region for 2005 include:

  • In the greater San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento: Deployment of VCAST applications for consumers. V CAST is the nation's first 3G wireless broadband multimedia service for consumers powered by the 3G EV-DO network. It features 300 daily updated video clips from a wide variety of news, entertainment, weather and sports content providers that can be downloaded or streamed to V CAST-capable cell phones. V CAST video clips, typically between one to five minutes in length, are delivered over the company's BroadbandAccess network, the nation's largest high-speed wireless broadband network. Available in 181 markets, BroadbandAccess covers nearly 150 million people in the United States.

  • Migrated former Mountain Cellular analog customers to the Verizon Wireless digital network, following the company's purchase of Mountain Cellular from the Sierra Tel Communications Group in late 2004. Verizon Wireless' digital network is now available to a population of 170,000 people in El Dorado County, an area which stretches 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 to Lake Tahoe.

  • Added cell sites on, or near, several college campuses to enhance coverage on the campuses and surrounding areas: University of Santa Clara, Sacramento State University, Santa Barbara City College, California State University — East Bay, Sonoma State University, West Valley College in Saratoga, and Evergreen College in San Jose.

  • Added cell sites throughout the Central Valley to enhance coverage and accommodate future growth, which include many new cell sites in the cities of Bakersfield and Fresno, along with surrounding towns and county roads.

  • Added cell sites to enhance coverage in numerous towns along the Central Coast, including Santa Cruz, Paso Robles, Atascadero, Morro Bay, Cambria, Goleta, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, Lompoc, and Santa Barbara.

"Providing customers with the nation's most reliable wireless network means making large-scale investments year after year," said Garwood. "We've proven that these efforts pay off for our customers with strong network performance in California based on testing by our real life test men and women."

Verizon Wireless is dedicated to delivering outstanding customer satisfaction by providing a positive wireless experience to its more than 50 million customers. The company has regularly invested more than $4 billion nationally each year since its inception - and more than $5.5 billion last year alone.

For more information about Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to www.verizonwireless.com.  

EDITOR'S NOTE: For network cell site images go to www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.  

About Verizon Wireless Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 51.3 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.  

Test Man/Woman Ride-Along Program The specially equipped Verizon Wireless test vehicles simultaneously test multiple wireless providers, using a computerized program to generate phonically diverse "conversations" as well as data transmissions. Members of the media who are interested in setting up an interview ride-along with a local member of the Verizon Wireless team of real-life test men and women, are invited to contact Heidi Flato at 925.279.6545 or e-mail heidi.flato@VerizonWireless.com.