News Release

Verizon Wireless Launches Digital Service In The North Valley

June 5, 2000

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Verizon Wireless today announced the first phase of its CDMA digital network expansion in Chico and Redding, and areas along Highway 99. The expanded service area was made possible through a digital upgrade of 19 existing analog cell sites throughout the region.

Starting today, the new digital service will provide better reception, fewer blocked and dropped calls, longer battery life, enhanced privacy and extra protection against cloning fraud. Soon, the Verizon Wireless digital network will also offer Chico and Redding customers the ability to send and receive data, such as email, from their phones and access the Internet.

"The good news is that now residents of Chico and Redding will be able to enjoy clearer calls with less background noise and longer battery life on their phones," said Brian Shay, Southwest Area president for Verizon Wireless. "For the last year, we've been working to extend our CDMA coverage area to the thousands of people who have a need for digital service in the North Valley and we're excited about delivering wireless Internet access that will open up a world of possibilities for them."

Previously, the Verizon Wireless North Valley coverage area offered analog service only. Since Verizon Wireless now offers digital and analog service, customers with dual-mode phones will be able to take advantage of digital service immediately. Analog customers will continue to enjoy their existing service with no impact, but will not be able to access the features and benefits that CDMA service provides without upgrading to a digital phone.

Currently, customers who activate on digital price plans starting at $29.99 will receive unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling within the North Valley service area. The North Valley is a part of Verizon Wireless' Northern California service area and covers parts of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Shasta and Tehama counties, including the Chico and Redding metropolitan areas.

*********

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 18 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless company was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE:BEL) and Vodafone AirTouch Plc (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. Verizon Wireless will be further strengthened by the addition of the wireless assets of GTE Corp. (NYSE:GTE) when it completes its merger with Bell Atlantic. The new company will have a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is 30,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more Verizon Wireless information at http://www.verizonwireless.com/mediacenter .

####