BOCA RATON, FL — Verizon Wireless has restored its digital network in Florida to near full capacity across the state in the wake of Hurricane Wilma, with fewer than three percent of cell sites in the impacted areas still out of service. Teams of network technicians continue to work to restore and maintain reliable wireless service throughout Florida's southeast and southwest coasts following the Category 3 storm.
Those technicians have been joined by teams of real-life "test men and women" on whom the character in the popular "Can you hear me now? Good" ad campaign is based who continue to canvass the impacted areas in special computer-equipped vehicles to test wireless networks in the wake of Wilma. Drive tests on October 28th and 29th show that the Verizon Wireless network in South Florida completed a higher percentage of voice calls than other wireless networks.
Driving Interstate 95 and the Florida Turnpike from Vero Beach to Homestead, the "call success rate" on the Verizon Wireless network measured about 92 percent, compared to competitors that ranged as low as 36 percent to at best 86 percent. Checking along major east-west routes in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Verizon Wireless completed about 99 percent of calls, again best among all carriers tested.
Among the major national carriers, the voice call success rates were as follows:
Carrier: Verizon Wireless
Hurricane Wilma October 28: 97.22%
Hurricane Wilma October 29: 98.86%
Hurricane Wilma October 28: 65.28%
Hurricane Wilma October 29: 60.92%
Hurricane Wilma October 28: 85.71%
Hurricane Wilma October 29: 87.21%
Hurricane Wilma October 28: 95.83%
Hurricane Wilma October 29: 90.80%
Hurricane Wilma October 28: 90.14%
Hurricane Wilma October 29: 94.38%
"We're testing to ensure our network is operating at the level that our customers deserve and expect," said Mike Lanman, Verizon Wireless Florida region president. "Reliability is critical and we will continue to invest significant resources and effort to prepare and respond effectively."
Verizon Wireless has invested more than $800 million in its Florida network during the past five years alone, plus millions more in preparation and response to Hurricane Katrina and other storms in 2005 and 2004. The company invests more than $4 billion nationwide each year about $1 billion every 90 days in its advanced voice and data networks.
Hurricane Wilma network restoration efforts include about 50 cell sites now being powered by permanent built-in generators (in Florida about 80 percent of all Verizon Wireless cell sites have built-in generators), and another 89 sites powered by portable generators. Several cell-on-wheels mobile cell sites known as COWs have been installed to boost network capacity.
Verizon Wireless employees have invested hundreds of thousands of man-hours in preparing for and responding to Hurricane Wilma. Network preparations included:
- Fine-tuning the company's digital network across the state to add call capacity in threatened areas before the storm hit.
- Strategically positioning fleets of mobile generators and mobile cell sites to be deployed immediately in any hard-hit areas.
- Pre-arranging fuel delivery to the mobile units and generators at permanent cell sites to keep the network operating even if power is lost for an extended period of time.
Editor's Note: To accompany a Verizon Wireless Test Man or to visit one of the company's Emergency Command Centers in preparation for or response to a storm, contact Chuck Hamby at 813-404-6029.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 49.3 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.