HOUSTON — Verizon Wireless today announced network results indicating an 86.9 percent successful call rate for calls attempted during the company’s recent network test drive completed within 24 hours of Hurricane Ike’s landfall. Verizon Wireless continues to dispatch teams of network technicians, mobile cell sites and generators to areas in the state where the storm battered communities over the weekend.
While the majority of the Verizon Wireless Houston/Gulf Coast network has remained up and running throughout the storm, technicians have been working to restore cell sites affected by flooding and power outages into service and to deploy Cells On Wheels (COWs) to boost network capacity in areas where residents and rescue workers must rely on wireless communications in the storm’s wake.
Providing For Residents After The Storm
Most Verizon Wireless Communications Stores are now open and operational for business. In addition, Verizon Wireless has set up Wireless Emergency Communication Centers (WECCs) to serve residents and rescue agencies in the areas of greatest need. Residents who have lost landline phone service and/or coverage from their wireless carriers may also visit their local Verizon Wireless store to make free phone calls and charge or service their wireless phones. Verizon Wireless also has provided several hundred phones and BroadbandAccess air cards to rescue agencies, and provided free minutes of air time to victims and rescue agencies.
Focus On Network Reliability
With a relentless focus on reliability and severe weather preparedness, the company’s Test Men and Women travel from coast-to-coast conducting more than 3 million voice call attempts and more than 16 million data tests annually on the Verizon Wireless network and the networks of competitors. The collected data helps Verizon Wireless plan the company’s network improvement program, including placement of new cellular sites and expansion of existing call capabilities in growing communities. Over the past year, Verizon Wireless spent $6.5 billion to build and expand its nationwide network.
The company’s recent test drive in the Houston metro area was conducted on September 14, 2008, covering over 656 miles of interstate and main road driving from Conroe to Houston. Our closest competitor’s call success rate was 84.1 percent.
Test Performed – Percentage of Successful Calls
- VZW – 86.9%
- Company A – 84.1%
- Company B – 78.8%
- Company C – 60.8%
“Our solid network results this storm season prove our preparation and long-standing investment strategy are the key reasons we are known as America’s Most Reliable Network,” said Kay Henze, Houston/Gulf Coast region president for Verizon Wireless. “Consumers depend on their wireless phones every day, but it’s especially important for calls to go through during times of severe weather. That’s why we work hard to build, maintain and prepare our wireless network so it performs well in any situation.”
Verizon Wireless carried out a variety of efforts before hurricane season to further strengthen and enhance its network, including a comprehensive emergency system with several command centers in the Gulf Coast, enhancements to its switching centers, over 50 new cell sites and a $157 million investment, to name a few.
Further, the company’s robust network-strengthening efforts are part of its continuous investment in the Houston/Gulf Coast region. Nationally, Verizon Wireless has spent about $5.5 billion annually to enhance its digital wireless network and over $45 billion since 2000.
(Editor’s Note: To accompany a Verizon Wireless Test Man or Woman, tour a network facility or obtain broadcast-quality video B-roll and still images of network operations/emergency preparations, contact Gretchen LeJeune at 713-204-2100).
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 68.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 70,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: 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.