News Release

Tarpon Springs, Florida, Residents, Businesses Find Expanded High Speed Digital Wireless Service "Spongeworthy"

Investment Here To Meet Growing Local Demand, Improve Public Safety

March 19, 2006

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

TARPON SPRINGS, FL — To provide the best wireless service for businesses, residents and visitors in Tarpon Springs — including along the city's historic sponge docks -- Verizon Wireless has expanded its digital network here by constructing a new advanced digital cell site near Alternate U.S. 19.

The new site processes voice calls and wireless data traffic utilizing the company's advanced high-speed Evolution Data Optimized (EV-DO) technology and is designed to enhanced coverage for nearby Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital and throughout Tarpon Springs.

The newest high-speed data services from Verizon Wireless that run on the EV-DO network are V CASTSM, which offers streaming video and music content via wireless phones, and BroadbandAccess, which provides data users with wireless broadband transfer speeds of 400-700 kbps. Verizon Wireless has already rolled out BroadbandAccess and V CAST in Tampa Bay and other Florida markets, including Jacksonville, South Florida, Orlando and Tallahassee.

The new site and EV-DO service are part of the company's continuing growth and investment in Florida. In 2005, Verizon Wireless spent more than $250 million in the state to further expand and enhance its all-digital network.

This aggressive network investment — now totaling more than $1 billion during the past five years in Florida alone — ensures that Verizon Wireless will continue to stay ahead of growing demand for wireless voice and data services like picture messaging and Internet access throughout the state. Additionally, these improvements fortify the Verizon Wireless network to ensure operations during incidents like previous years' hurricanes.

The Verizon Wireless network in Florida withstood the impact of eight hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 and remained on-air while landlines and other wireless providers faltered. In Florida, nearly 80 percent of all Verizon Wireless sites have their own back-up generator — in addition to battery power — to keep the network running even when the power supply is interrupted.

Verizon Wireless supplied thousands of wireless phones and millions of free minutes to public safety agencies and emergency operations centers from Palm Beach County to Pensacola, providing one of the only means of communication to many areas affected by the hurricanes.

The company also set up free calling centers in areas affected by the storms, providing thousands of phone calls and more than one million free minutes for hurricane survivors to contact loved ones, insurance companies and relief organizations.

"This new site in Tarpon Springs will help improve public safety in many emergency situations," said Mike Lanman, Florida region president for Verizon Wireless. "But it also allows us to meet the growing voice and data needs of businesses and consumers on a daily basis."

About Verizon Wireless' Network Investment
Over the last four years, Verizon Wireless has invested about a billion dollars every 90 days -- more than $16 billion -- in its nationwide network, offering customers access to the most extensive wireless voice and data network in the United States. Local investment makes it possible to offer Florida customers the most reliable service available on the nation's largest wireless network. The company's most reliable network claim is based on network studies 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 150,000 miles across Florida — including Pinellas County — in specially-equipped, company-owned quality test vehicles.

* 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" and data transmissions. Members of the media who 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, please contact Chuck Hamby at 813-615-4803 or via email at chuck.hamby@verizonwireless.com.  

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 51.3 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 receive 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.

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