ORANGEBURG, NY — As the New York m etro area became a virtual greenhouse for growing competition in the wireless communications industry last year, Bell Atlantic Mobile moved aggressively to expand its digital service and improve network quality and coverage while introducing innovative products like pre-paid wireless service and flat-rate unlimited wireless Internet access. The following are highlights of the company's accomplishments in 1997:
- The company invested $700 million in network improvements nationwide to bring customers the superior sound and enhanced features of DigitalChoiceSM service using CDMA technology, and to improve network coverage throughout its territory. In New York, exclusive wireless service was introduced in the Brooklyn Battery and Queens Midtown Tunnels.
- DigitalChoice service was enhanced to include text messaging and a direct link to the Internet. These new features made Bell Atlantic Mobile dual-mode digital wireless phones -- which work on both digital and analog networks -- even more versatile.
- To make wireless service available to a broader spectrum of customers, especially first-time wireless users, Bell Atlantic Mobile launched MobileMinutesSM, a pre-paid wireless calling card service with no contract to sign, no monthly access fees and no bills.
- Seven new Communications Stores opened in Nanuet, White Plains, Smith Haven Mall, Livingston Mall, and in Manhattan on Wall Street, the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side. With more than 160 stores and kiosks throughout the country and 40 in New York and New Jersey, Bell Atlantic Mobile operates the largest wireless retail chain in the region.
- Wireless data technology continued to offer innovative solutions for businesses and public safety officials. New flat monthly rates for Bell Atlantic Mobile CellscapeSM service provides business customers with unlimited wireless access to the Internet, their company's intranet and e-mail, and more than 15 police departments have signed on for the company's AirBridge[PHL1]® Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) service, which provides officers with wireless access to criminal and motor vehicle databases, enabling them to pull a record number of illegal drivers off area roadways.
- More than 400 wireless phones were donated to public safety groups, school crossing guards and victims of domestic violence in New York and New Jersey through the company's "Wireless at Work" community program. Plans call for another 400 phone donations this year.
- The company hired 400 new employees in 1997, mainly in customer service, retail sales and network engineering.
"We bring two unique resources to customers: the most advanced wireless network that keeps people connected wherever they are, and an understanding of what wireless customers want which comes from more than 13 years of serving their needs," Dobson said. "These industry advantages will continue to set us apart in the market and form the core of our competitive strategy."