IRVINE, CA — Verizon Wireless, owner and operator of the nation's most reliable wireless network, has brought new meaning to the phrase "going the extra mile," when it comes to ensuring the quality and reliability of its nationwide network. In twelve months, Verizon Wireless' national team of real-life test men and women made more than 4,000,000 calls and traveled more than 1,000,000 miles, testing the Verizon Wireless network on the most frequently traveled roadways from coast to coast.
In southern California, Verizon Wireless employee and Orange County resident Joel Kenyon logs the miles and tests Verizon Wireless' and national competitors' networks five days a week. Kenyon's schedule varies, taking him through canyons, downtown, along the beach and into residential areas all throughout southern California, but a sample day-in-the-life follows:
- 8:00am: Drive several miles along a freeway and to a local strip mall, collecting data on dropped calls, incomplete call attempts and the sound quality of voice calls. Stop to compile information in the on-board laptop computer system
- 10:00am: Analyze the computerized data from the test-drive to ensure that it is valid and usable
- 10:30am: Process the data with sophisticated software and strategically map the next test-drive locations and route
- 11:00am: Create reports of the test results and forward to Verizon Wireless' regional network experts for review and analysis for possible network enhancement or fine-tuning.
- 12:00pm: Stop for lunch
- 1:00pm: Perform routine computer and test equipment maintenance, troubleshooting any potential and actual problems. Install/upgrade/configure test equipment software for the computer system.
- 2:00pm: Head out on the road again, testing specific neighborhoods and major roads to check the signal strength of the Verizon Wireless network, and its handling of calls, compared to each major national competitor.
- 4:30pm: Create reports of the test results and forward to Verizon Wireless' regional network experts for review and analysis for possible network enhancement or fine-tuning.
- 5:00pm: Drive home
One of 60 local test men and women across the country, Joel Kenyon, drove about 50,000 miles last year in his specially equipped test vehicle built to analyze the performance of Verizon Wireless' network in comparison to that of competitors. The eight phones in Joel's vehicle made over 65,000 calls last year, testing both voice and data services for call completions, dropped calls and call quality in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Diego and Imperial counties.
Editor's Note: Test Man Ride-Along Program
Members of the media interested in scheduling a ride-along test drive with Verizon Wireless' local test man, Joel Kenyon, please contact Ken Muché at 949-286-8193.
The ultimate road warrior, Joel travels across Southern California in his Chevy Trailblazer packed full of over $300,000 worth of testing equipment. He uses his mobile laptop computer to generate phonically diverse "conversations" that simultaneously test the networks of as many as eight wireless providers. The computer tests sound quality using interesting phrases such as: "These days the chicken leg is a rare dish" and "He carved a head of a round block of marble" and more. The data gathered from these calls is used to analyze the need for network enhancements and increased capacity, as well as to troubleshoot areas for dropped calls or dead spots.
Verizon Wireless recently completed a nearly $590 million investment in its California network in 2004 to increase coverage, add call capacity, improve call quality and launch a variety of advanced services such as wireless broadband computing, text and video messaging and other applications. With major enhancements scheduled in 2005, Verizon Wireless has already invested nearly $3 billion in network upgrades in California since the company was formed in mid-2000.
Network highlights for 2004 include:
- New and/or improved coverage and increased call capacity in a number of communities and points of interest, including:
- Santa Anita Race Track in Los Angeles County
- Knott's Berry Farm in Orange County
- Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego
- Soak City water park in Palm Springs
- Point Mugu Air Station
- La Costa Country Club and Spa in San Diego County
- Lake Arrowhead-area ski resorts
- Big Bear-area ski resorts
- Biola University in Orange County
- Valley View Indian Casino in San Diego County
- New cell sites added across the state in 2004, which increased the company's total coverage area in California to nearly 53,000 square miles.
- Enhancements that expanded the company's call capacity in California by 12 percent, enabling the network to handle even more simultaneous voice and data calls.
- Network usage in California increased more than 43 percent in 2004 over 2003.
- The company expanded BroadbandAccess service to nearly all of Los Angeles county and portions of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. BroadbandAccess, now covering nearly 4,400 square miles of southern California, is one of the fastest wide-area commercially available wireless Internet access services available in the nation with typical user download speeds of 300-500 kilobits per second (kbps).
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 43.8 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.