A COW Grazes in Grass Valley, California

WALNUT CREEK, CA — Verizon Wireless is helping firefighters stay connected during the annual Wild Land firefighter training in Grass Valley on June 24, 2006. More than 300 firefighters from Yuba, Nevada, and Placer Counties are expected to participate in the drill. To prepare for expected increase in usage, Verizon Wireless, operator of the nation's most reliable wireless network, will set up a portable cell site or "COW" nearby.

The Cell on Wheels (or COW) is a fully functional, generator-powered mobile cell site that enhances wireless coverage and capacity, allowing more customers to use wireless voice and data communications at the same time. "During California's wildfire season, wireless communication plays an especially important role for firefighters and other emergency responders," said Jack Tang, executive director of Network for Verizon Wireless' Northern California and Nevada Region. "Our COWs provide additional coverage in remote areas to handle the increase in wireless traffic."

The Verizon Wireless Significant Event Response Team (SERT) also maintains more than 200 phones programmed and ready to loan to fire, civil defense and other agencies responding to community emergencies.

COW Facts

The temporary cell site is equivalent to the highest capacity stationary site presently in the Verizon Wireless network and is able to process thousands of calls every hour.

  • Each COW is specially equipped with $500,000 in sophisticated mobile equipment.

  • The COW's microwave antenna, used for linking our network components, provides the calling equivalent of 672 landline phone lines. Its reach spans as many as 20 miles, depending on terrain.

  • The 25,000 lb. vehicle features a 55 ft. retractable mast. And, since Verizon Wireless has to be prepared that community resources may not be available in the event of emergency, the vehicle is fully self-contained with equipment, fuel, electrical generators, food, water, cots, etc.

  • The temporary cell site is part of Verizon Wireless' commitment to network reliability. Verizon Wireless has invested $30 billion in the last six years — $5 billion on average every year since the company was formed — to increase the coverage and capacity of its national network and to add new services. In California alone, the company has invested nearly $4 billion since 2000.

    Test Man/Woman Ride-Along Program Specially equipped Verizon Wireless test vehicles simultaneously test seven 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.

    About Verizon Wireless Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 53 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, 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 including a cell on wheels, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.