Washington State Talking More. Verizon Wireless Customers' Wireless Phone Usage Up 28 Percent In 2006.

BELLEVUE, WA — Verizon Wireless invested more than $179 million to enhance its Washington voice and data wireless network in 2006. That's nearly $500,000 per day spent to provide customers in the state with the reliable, high quality service they expect from Verizon Wireless.

The company's network investment in Washington now totals more than $540 million over the past five 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 Longview and Eastern Washington.

More specifically the network investments made last year in Washington are delivering:

Expanded coverage and call capacity

  • Key new cell sites throughout the state, including those that improved coverage in the communities of Auburn, Bellingham, Buckley, Chelan, Cheney, Easton, Fairchild Airforce Base, George, Lynden, Moses Lake, Puyallup, Seattle, Redmond, Renton, Tacoma, and Vancouver.

  • Growth usage in Washington over the past five years was 382 percent.

Most reliable network in the nation

  • Deployment of a Cell on Wheels mobile cell site to provide wireless communications service for emergency responders as they battled a 57,000 acres of wildland fires in Eastern Washington

  • Network handled call volumes nearly 50 percent higher than normal during the Puget Sound December power outage when more than 1.5 million homes were left without power. At the height of the outage fewer than 15 percent of cell sites were out of service as backup batteries and generators kept cell sites humming. The network returned to full strength within 72 hours.

  •  Provided more than 200 wireless phones to emergency responders to aid in storm recovery efforts

  •  A new $55 million, 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art switching center that processes more than 7 million calls for customers who live in and travel through King County.

New wireless technologies

  • Customers in Longview and Eastern Washington 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 December.

  • Customers also have access to innovative new services based on Global Positioning System (GPS) data. ChaperoneSMgives 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. And Field Force Manager allows businesses to map the location of field employees and jobs in near real-time.

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 WirelessVerizon 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 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.