New Mexico And El Paso Residents Talking More. Verizon Wireless Customers' Wireless Phone Usage Up More Than 20 Percent In 2006

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Verizon Wireless invested more than $55 million to enhance its New Mexico and El Paso, Texas voice and data wireless network in 2006. That's an average of more than $150,000 per day spent to provide customers with the reliable, high quality service they expect from Verizon Wireless.

The company's network investment in New Mexico and El Paso now totals more than $205 million over the past six years.

The investment includes adding and updating cell sites to improve call quality and enable customers to make calls. The multi-million dollar investment also includes the launch of the company's Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) broadband wireless data network in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Gallup and Farmington in New Mexico and in El Paso, Texas.

More specifically the network investments made last year in New Mexico and El Paso are delivering:

Expanded coverage and call capacity

  • Key new cell sites throughout the state, including those that improved coverage in the communities of Santa Fe, Paradise Hills and Gallup in New Mexico and in east El Paso. Coverage was also improved along the major transportation corridors of Interstate 25 near Truth or Consequences, on Interstate 10 near Lordsburg and along US 70 in east Las Cruces.

  • Network enhancements to out-pace growth in the number voice and data calls happening at the same time. Growth in usage in the past four years in New Mexico and El Paso increased more than 250 percent.

  • A September 2006 survey found that the average Verizon Wireless customer from El Paso makes and receives more calls than customers from most major U.S. cities. El Paso customers ranked fourth on the Verizon Wireless study.

Most reliable network in the nation

  • Deployment of a Cell on Wheels (COW) in December to the White Sands Missile Range to provide wireless communications service for the space shuttle alternate landing site.

  • In June, deployment of two COWs to support firefighters and other emergency crews battling the Bear Paw Fire and the Reserve Fire.

  • Additional equipment to provide backup power in the event of a commercial power failure.

New wireless technologies

  • Customers in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Gallup, Farmington and El Paso can now access high-speed wireless Internet, e-mail, mobile music and more. The high speed data network that enables both BroadbandAccess and V CAST services launched in the fourth quarter.

  • Customers also have access to innovative new services based on Global Positioning System (GPS) data. ChaperoneSM gives parents new tools to help identify the whereabouts of phones they've given to their young children. VZ NavigatorSM provides wireless turn-by-turn driving directions, maps and addresses.

The company has invested $35 billion in the last seven 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. Network investment for 2007 is already underway.

About Verizon Wireless Verizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving more than 59 million customers. The largest US wireless company and largest wireless data provider, based on revenues, Verizon Wireless is headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 65,000 employees nationwide. The company is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at 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