News Release

Snow Birds Flocking to Florida: Verizon Wireless "Test Men" Boost Network for Annual Migration

December 15, 2004

Chuck Hamby
Chuck.Hamby@VerizonWireless.com
813-615-4803

TAMPLA, FL — Hundreds of thousands of seasonal winter residents from colder climates have begun their annual southerly migration to the Sunshine State. And to ensure these snowbirds have the best wireless service, Verizon Wireless has dispatched its real-life "test men" and "test women" to fine-tune its Florida network and has added capacity to key cell sites in communities where these snowbirds roost for winter.

A recent University of Florida study estimated almost 1 million seasonal residents come from the Northeast, Upper Midwest, Canada and other colder climates to the Sunshine State this season each year. The largest numbers nest in Lee County, followed by Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Collier, Broward, Polk, Pinellas, Sarasota, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.

Verizon Wireless has added permanent and mobile transmission sites for greater wireless capacity in these communities and along major travel routes from the North. In addition, the company's network technicians have tested and fine-tuned switches and call-routing on its statewide network for optimum handling of increased call volume from these areas.

In a typical day during "the season," the Verizon Wireless all-digital network in Florida handles tens of millions of voice and data calls each hour. In addition, the number of roaming calls — calls originating in Florida from wireless phones based in other states — on the Verizon Wireless network nearly quadruples some days during the winter months.

The Verizon Wireless network covers about 25,000 square miles and serves 95 percent of the state's nearly 17 million residents — including many public safety and emergency response agencies who use Verizon Wireless for mobile communications and connectivity.

"More seniors and snowbirds are using wireless phones than ever before, and we're ready for their annual mass migration south," said Mike Lanman, Florida region president of Verizon Wireless. "This is part of our consistent effort and investment here in Florida to keep improving what already is the most reliable network in the business."

In the last 12 months in Florida, Verizon Wireless has spent about $220 million constructing state-of-the-art switching stations and adding 115 new transmission sites to further expand and enhance its network. These enhancements — part of the company's nearly $800 million network investment in the state since 2001 — improve call quality, increase coverage areas and allow a variety of advanced services such as text and picture messaging, broadband wireless computing and other once-futuristic applications.

The company's network testing and enhancements are performed by real-life test men and test women who inspired the company's national "Can you hear me now? Good!®" advertising campaign. They conduct more than 300,000 calls monthly on the Verizon Wireless network and other national wireless carriers' networks while traveling over 100,000 miles across Florida in specially-equipped, company-owned quality test vehicles.*

"The commitment to this Florida wireless network and the technical teams behind it were the reasons the network performed so well for residents during this past hurricane season — and all year around," Lanman said. "So our customers can have confidence in our service here no matter where they live other seasons of the year, how long their staying in Florida, or how many of them arrive here at once."

* Test Man Ride-Along Program
The specially equipped Verizon Wireless test vehicles simultaneously test seven wireless providers, using a computerized program to generate phonically diverse "conversations." If you are interested in setting up an interview or ride-along with a local member of the Verizon Wireless team of real-life test men and women, contact Chuck Hamby at 813-615-4803 or via email at chuck.hamby@verizonwireless.com.  

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the most reliable nationwide wireless network, serving 42.1 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log onto www.thenewsmarket.com/verizonwireless.

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