SAINT PAUL, MN — In preparation for the Republican National Convention (RNC) on Sept. 1-4, Verizon Wireless has made significant upgrades to its voice and data network and opened a conveniently located Communications Store in downtown Saint Paul. Together, these steps will improve the experience customers enjoy when they make voice calls and send text, picture or video messages or when they shop for handsets or accessories while attending the convention.
From the first speech to the final balloon drop, Verizon Wireless’ network is ready to handle a 33 percent increase in voice traffic and 150 percent more data transmissions during each day of the convention than during a normal day. The operator of the nation’s most reliable wireless voice and data network has invested $6.4 million in network improvements for the estimated 45,000 visitors including delegates, politicians and 15,000 media coming to the greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul area.
To provide a convenient location for the company’s customers attending the RNC, Verizon Wireless opened a new Communications Store in downtown Saint Paul at 201 W. 7th Street in July. In addition, the company’s Mall of America store has been remodeled to showcase a new and highly interactive retail concept.
“We have made a significant investment in network improvements to provide the reliable, high-quality network service customers expect from Verizon Wireless,” said Nancy B. Clark president – Great Plains region, Verizon Wireless. “Our customers will be talking, texting, navigating and e-mailing with their wireless phones and devices at a record-setting pace. And, if they have any questions, or need extra batteries or accessories, our downtown Saint Paul store will be within easy walking distance from the convention and all of our stores will be ready to serve them.”
COWs and COLTs join the Elephant at the party
As part of Verizon Wireless’ network preparation for the convention, the company will activate temporary cell sites, known as Cells on Wheels (COWs) and Cells on Light Truck (COLTs) at high-demand locations in the Twin Cities area. These sites can process thousands of calls and data transmissions each hour and are designed for use at special events that demand additional network capacity.
In downtown Minneapolis, two COWs have been activated near the Hilton and Hyatt hotels. A COLT and a COW have also been activated at the fairgrounds in Saint Paul because the Minnesota State Fair dates overlap the convention. The Minnesota State Fair draws more than 1.6 million visitors each year and operates Aug. 21-Sept. 1.
Not just Talk. Ballot includes Text/Picture/Video and E-mail
With the high number of users expected to not only talk, but use data features such as text, picture and video messaging or use wireless modems and devices to access the Internet and e-mail through the company’s high-speed wireless broadband network, Verizon Wireless has made network upgrades where convention activities will be concentrated.
Verizon Wireless has added two new in-building cell sites at the main convention location – Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, and in the Minneapolis Convention Center which will host CivicFest during the convention week. Both cell sites will remain in-service after the convention. The company has also doubled the capacity of existing cell sites near the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport and increased capacity to most cell sites in both downtown areas by adding equipment and software to existing sites.
Our platform? A more reliable network for all
Verizon Wireless’ network reliability is supported by industry-leading redundancy and maintenance measures, including back-up battery power at all facilities. For additional reliability, generators are installed at all switching facilities and many cell site locations. During the convention, a dedicated network Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be staffed 24 hours a day.
The company has invested more than $45 billion since it was formed – $5.5 billion on average every year – to increase the coverage and capacity of its national network and to add new services. Through mid-year 2008, more than $475 million has been invested on network improvements in Minnesota since 2001.
Customer Caucus locations
The 2,500 square-foot downtown Saint Paul store provides full sales and service to Verizon Wireless customers. Operating hours of the store, which is managed by Jason Arvidson, are Monday though Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. During the Convention the store will be open Sunday, Aug. 31 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Labor Day 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sept. 2-4 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to assist delegates, media and other visitors with any of their wireless needs. For more information, call the store at 651-222-3255.
The Mall of America store is located on the third floor in the West Market of the mall and is open during the mall’s regular operating hours. Customers can visit www.verizonwireless.com or call 800-922-0204 to locate other store locations throughout the greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul area.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 68.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 70,000 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.