10 Years And Counting: Verizon Wireless Network Testing Program Expands, Prepares For 4G

LAS VEGAS and BASKING RIDGE, NJ — Since its creation in 2000, Verizon Wireless has employed real-life test men and women to monitor and test the company’s network by driving its fleet of vehicles. Ten years later, that fleet has more than tripled in size with Verizon Wireless now operating 100 specially equipped, company-owned and -operated test vehicles, the largest wireless network testing fleet in the United States.

Verizon Wireless recently added 10 new vehicles to its network testing fleet to bring its total complement to 100 test vehicles. The vehicles – late-model, four-wheel drive utility vehicles, each costing approximately $240,000 when fully outfitted with network testing gear – enable the company to enhance its call quality and coverage capabilities and test new markets, including Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

“Our focus has been and always will be on network quality. We are dedicated to providing our customers the best wireless experience in the United States,” said Tony Melone, senior vice president and CTO of Verizon Wireless. “The network tests we conduct day after day enable us to not only understand our customers’ experiences today, but also to make decisions on network enhancements and investments that will provide the best service for our customers in the future.”

Over the past 10 years, as consumers’ wireless usage has evolved, so has Verizon Wireless’ data collection. When the company launched in 2000, Verizon Wireless test men and women measured fundamental information about voice call quality. Today, more wireless consumers use smartphones and wirelessly access data services, and Verizon Wireless now conducts tests to help determine whether a data session connected, how it connected and how quickly that connection was made.

Preparing to Test 4GThis year, Verizon Wireless plans to launch its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless network – which will offer higher wireless speeds than today’s most advanced 3G network – in 25 to 30 markets nationally. When it does, Verizon Wireless’ test men and women will monitor the 4G network as they do the current voice and data network. The first member of the Verizon Wireless test vehicle fleet to be equipped with 4G testing equipment will be the test vehicle named “Ike.” Ike will be testing the prototype 4G testing and monitoring equipment to be installed in the Verizon Wireless test fleet later this year.

Meet Verizon Wireless’ Real-Life Test Men and WomenLearn more about how Verizon Wireless test men and women, who inspired the company’s iconic television ad campaign, test the company’s network and how Verizon Wireless uses the collected data to help direct its multi-billion dollar network capital expenditure program at http://www.verizonwireless.com/news/article/2010/03/pr2010-03-23h.html.

Read profiles of the test men and women at http://www.verizonwireless.com/news/testdriver.html. View video of a Verizon Wireless test man as he tests the company’s network by visiting the VerizonWirelessTV channel here on YouTube.

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving more than 91 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 83,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit 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.