Verizon Wireless Creates Network Safety Net For Pope Benedict XVI Visit To New York

NEW YORK — Verizon Wireless, the builder and operator of the nation's most reliable wireless network, has assembled additional network support in key venues in preparation for Pope Benedict XVI's visit to New York City this weekend.

"Federal, state, and local public safety officials trust the Verizon Wireless voice and data network to complete their calls and carry mission-critical data every day, throughout the year," said Mike Haberman, executive director of Verizon Wireless' New York Metro network. "We are more than prepared to handle the high volume of traffic expected at Yankee Stadium this weekend but have taken extra measures to ensure attendees and officials at the historic Papal events stay connected. We literally are backing up our back-up facilities to be prepared for surges in calling."

At the request of City officials, the company has placed a Cell on Wheels (COW) near Yankee Stadium where the Pope will speak on Sunday. The request was part of the multi-layered security efforts during the Pope's visit and, if needed, the COW will provide significant network capacity to complement Verizon Wireless' permanent cell sites nearby.

Verizon Wireless also has placed a COW on the grounds of St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers where more than 20,000 teens are expected to converge for a Papal Youth Rally on Saturday.

"We expect a big surge in voice calls and anticipate a flood of text and picture messages as throngs of young people use their wireless devices to capture and share this special event," Haberman said.

COWs are fully functional, generator-powered mobile cell sites that enhance wireless capacity, allowing more customers to use their wireless phones concurrently to make calls, send and receive text and picture messages, access the Internet, and download games and ringtones. The company placed the COW on the St. Joseph's campus this week and it is up and running and ready for tomorrow's rally.

In addition to boosting local facilities, engineers at the Verizon Wireless Network Operations Control Center in northern New Jersey staff network control consoles 24/7, and will be paying special attention to Papal venues to monitor systems performance while a team of field engineers remains on-call all weekend.

These temporary cell sites and all special event preparations are part of Verizon Wireless' continuous effort to stay ahead of the growing demand for Verizon Wireless voice, data and mobile entertainment services. The company has invested nearly $44 billion since it was formed to increase coverage and capacity, and to offer customers reliable service across the nation during the typical day, during emergencies like hurricanes and blackouts, and large events like the Papal visit and during New Year's Eve in Times Square.

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 65.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 69,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: 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.

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