LAS VEGAS, NV — Imagine the future of wireless: crystal clear video on-demand, live-action 3-D games, news, sports, entertainment, music videos and much more in the palm of your hand. Verizon Wireless delivered the future of wireless today from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas when senior Verizon Wireless executives announced the company is launching VCAST the nation's first third-generation (3G) wireless multimedia service for consumers beginning February 1, 2005. VCAST will bring high-quality video, 3-D games and music straight to new 3G phones that will run on the Verizon Wireless broadband EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) 3G network, delivering the fastest, most widely-available fully-mobile wireless data experience in the nation today.
"3G is here we are delivering true 3G services to our customers; this is not a plan for services on the horizon, this is about now," said Denny Strigl, president and chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless.
Starting February 1, Verizon Wireless customers will be able to use new handsets to access VCAST's video on-demand service, viewing current news, weather, sports and entertainment programming. They will also be able to download and play cutting-edge three-dimensional games on powerful new handsets. Customers will also be able to watch music videos and short programs specifically designed for mobile phones and other video applications on their handsets.
"With the launch of VCAST, Verizon Wireless is building on its reputation for providing the most reliable and exciting wireless experience in the U.S. VCAST establishes the gold standard for consumer wireless multimedia services," continued Strigl. "This multi-functional service is so entertaining and informative, so timely and cutting edge, that it gives our customers another dimension to their wireless service."
When the service is available on February 1, customers can expect video and games from a variety of familiar and popular sources, such as MTV Networks' VH1 and Comedy Central brands. A relationship with News Corp. and 20th Century Fox will bring Verizon Wireless customers hot exclusive programs "24: Conspiracy," "Sunset Hotel" and "Love & Hate" specifically designed for mobile phones. A broad offering of content will also be available from NBC, including newscasts made exclusively for mobile phones.
VCAST will be accessed through the award-winning Get It Now® virtual store found on Verizon Wireless handsets.
"With VCAST, we have put together a comprehensive package of multimedia services for consumers that will be immediately available at launch," said John Stratton, Verizon Wireless vice president and chief marketing officer. "This robust offering in the marketplace will take wireless to a new level, offering Verizon Wireless customers a wealth of news, sports and entertainment programming in the palm of their hands at an affordable price."
EV-DO 3G Network Expansion
VCAST runs on the Verizon Wireless 3G EV-DO network, which began commercial operation in October 2003 in San Diego and Washington, D.C. The Verizon Wireless 3G EV-DO network initially launched commercially with BroadbandAccess wireless Internet access service for business customers and mobile professionals. BroadbandAccess boasts average user speeds of 300-500 kilobits per second (kbps), and enables users to remain productive and connected whether they're at home, a meeting across town or on the road. BroadbandAccess customers can connect via laptop to the Internet, corporate intranet, email and attachments all at high speed.
"When we announced the rollout plans for the Verizon Wireless 3G network one year ago at last year's Consumer Electronics Show, we said we would deploy the technology in areas covering 75 million people, or one-third of our network, in the United States by the end of 2004. Promise made, promise kept," said Dick Lynch, Verizon Wireless executive vice president and chief technical officer, in announcing new metropolitan areas to the 3G network coverage area.
In addition to 20 previously launched metropolitan areas, the company today announced 12 additional markets: Chicago; Houston; Boston; Phoenix; Cincinnati; Orlando; Columbus and Dayton, OH; Providence, RI; Jacksonville, FL; Hartford and New Haven, CT. Major expansions have been made in many existing 3G markets, including New York City; Newark, NJ; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; Atlanta; Miami, Tampa and West Palm Beach, FL; Baltimore, MD; Kansas City, MO; and Milwaukee, WI areas.
(EDITORS: A complete list of markets follows this news release.)
"Today, another promise," said Dick Lynch. "We will deploy our 3G network our BroadbandAccess and VCAST service areas to cover 150 million Americans by the end of 2005." Lucent Technologies and Nortel Networks have provided wireless infrastructure technology for the Verizon Wireless 3G network, and EV-DO technology is licensed from QUALCOMM.
"Verizon Wireless continues to set the standard for innovative consumer and business services, and by offering VCAST to the mass consumer base, they are proving the success and reliability of their 3G network," said Roger Entner, director of wireless and mobile services for The Yankee Group. "Services like games and videos everyone is used to playing and watching while tethered to a TV or monitor are now going to be available virtually anywhere and any time, with similar speed and often even greater excitement. VCAST gives consumers the mobility they're looking for and leapfrogs anything else that is available today."
For the past several months, Verizon Wireless has been conducting a "sneak preview" of VCAST for 1,000 participants from the company's existing customer base in the Washington, D.C. and San Diego metropolitan areas. The preview focused on consumer adoption, usage patterns, content from potential VCAST partners, and both network and handset performance.
"The quality on this video is just unbelievable," said Melanie Hoffman, reacting to video news clips she was watching on an LG VX8000 phone in Washington D.C. last week. "The picture, I just can't explain it, it's really neat it's like Christmas."
For $15.00 monthly access in addition to their regular Verizon Wireless calling plan, VCAST customers get unlimited access to a wide array of more than 300 daily updated videos from leading content providers. Verizon Wireless VCAST customers also receive unlimited browsing of Verizon Wireless' Mobile Web 2.0 news and information service. In addition, customers can choose from premium content, available for an additional cost, that includes 3-D games, music videos and other premium channels.
VCAST's array of hot new multimedia programming is located in the Get It Now virtual store customers can access video from favorite news, sports and entertainment providers in the getFLIX shopping aisle and check out new cutting-edge 3-D games in the getGAMES aisle. VCAST also gives customers unlimited access to browse and view applications in the other familiar Get It Now shopping aisles such as getTONES and getGOING.
"Customers no longer need to be chained to their computers or televisions to play video games or view the latest news and information via video," said Jim Straight, vice president of multimedia services for Verizon Wireless. "With our expansion and the widening reach of our high-speed network, the next level of Get It Now applications is possible from three dimensional and multi-player games to higher-resolution photos and video downloads."
At launch, customers will be able to access VCAST on three hot new phones, from LG Mobile Phones, Samsung Telecommunications America (Samsung) and UTStarcom Personal Communications. The featured phone is the new LG VX8000 phone with its full-motion video with audio downloading and playback capabilities, the LG VX8000 offers customers a rich and rewarding interactive experience. The LG VX8000 also features a 1.3 mega-pixel camera with 10X digital zoom and embedded flash. Customers can capture 15-second videos and still photos and send them to other Verizon Wireless customers with video messaging-capable phones or any e-mail address.
For more information Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to www.verizonwireless.com.
EDITORS NOTE: Broadcast-quality B-Roll and high-resolution stills of VCAST from Verizon Wireless are available online. Log on to Verizon Wireless' Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia to preview and request video segments, which can be received in newsrooms digitally, by tape or via satellite, or to request images. Available footage features customer testimonials and footage of applications in use.
As of Friday, January 7, 2005, Verizon Wireless' EV-DO network will be available in the following major metropolitan areas:
- Austin, TX
- Columbus, OH
- Dallas/Ft. Worth
- Dayton, OH
- Hartford, CT
- Jacksonville, FL
- Kansas City, KS/MO
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- Madison, WI
- Miami/Fort Lauderdale, FL
- New Haven, CT
- New Orleans
- New York/Newark, NJ
- Orlando, FL
- Providence, RI
- San Diego
- Tampa, FL
- Washington, D.C.
- West Palm Beach, FL
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable 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 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.
NOTE: This press release contains statements about expected future events and financial results that are forward-looking and subject to risks and uncertainties. For those statements, we claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The following important factors could affect future results and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements: materially adverse changes in economic conditions in the markets served by us, an adverse change in the ratings afforded our debt securities or those of Verizon Communications by nationally accredited ratings organizations, the effects of the substantial competition that exists in our markets, which has been intensifying, and which may intensify further as a result of local number portability regulations that allow wireless customers to retain their phone numbers when switching wireless service providers, our ability to obtain sufficient financing to satisfy our substantial capital requirements, including to fund capital expenditures, debt repayment and distributions to our owners, our ability to obtain sufficient spectrum licenses, particularly in our most densely populated areas, our ability to develop future business opportunities, including wireless data services, and to continue to adapt to the changing conditions in the wireless industry, our ability to receive satisfactory service from our key vendors and suppliers, our ability to generate additional subscribers, with acceptable levels of churn, from resellers and distributors of our service, material changes in available technology, and technology substitution that could impact the popularity and usage of our technology, our continued provision of satisfactory service to our subscribers at an acceptable cost, in order to reduce churn, the impact of continued unionization efforts with respect to our employees, regulatory developments, including new regulations that could increase our cost of doing business or reduce demand for our services, developments in connection with existing or future litigation, and changes in our accounting assumptions that regulatory agencies, including the SEC, may require or that result from changes in the accounting rules or their application, which could result in an impact on earnings.