News Release

Consumers In Areas Of Minnesota And South Dakota Will Enjoy New Verizon Wireless Service January 25

More Consumers Can Choose America's Most Reliable Wireless Network

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January 18, 2009

Karen Smith
Karen.Smith@VerizonWireless.com
763-595-2511Maureen Cahill
Mcahill@mcfarlandcahill.com
612-385-9164

MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Verizon Wireless today announced it will launch network operations on January 25 in northern Minnesota and northeasten South Dakota, offering nationwide service plans as well as the latest products and services to consumers in these markets.

Verizon Wireless acquired these new market areas and the cell sites there in August 2008 as part its purchase of Rural Cellular Corporation, which was doing business as Unicel. Since then, Verizon Wireless has transitioned the acquired cell sites to its network, and in the coming weeks, will also complete an upgrade of these cell sites to the company’s high-speed broadband network.

“We look forward to offering the quality and value of Verizon Wireless’ service to these new communities in Minnesota and South Dakota,” said Nancy B. Clark, president—Great Plains Region, Verizon Wireless. “More consumers will now be able to choose service on America’s most reliable wireless network and our current customers will have full access to Verizon Wireless services, such as VZ Navigator(SM), as they travel in these markets.”

The new Verizon Wireless network coverage will offer service to a population of more than 600,000 in the two states. In Minnesota, the new network will adjoin existing Verizon Wireless coverage and include, in part, the following communities: Alexandria, Bemidji, Brainerd, Baxter, Cloquet, Crookston, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, International Falls, Park Rapids, Thief River Falls and Wadena. In northeastern South Dakota, new service areas will include Watertown and its surrounding communities.

Current Unicel customers will receive direct communication from Verizon Wireless on any changes that will impact their service. After January 25, these customers’ phone numbers will remain the same and their devices will operate on the Verizon Wireless network. However, existing customers who utilize data services (picture messaging, email, Internet access or downloads of ringtones, music and games) will need new handsets or data cards before the billing conversion to Verizon Wireless takes place on March 22. Those impacted customers will receive equipment offers. Customers who primarily use voice or text messaging will not need a new handset.

Unicel customers can get additional information by going online at www.unicel.com or by visiting a local Verizon Wireless Communications store. On January 25, Unicel-branded store locations will be fully merchandized with Verizon Wireless products and services to serve new and existing customers.

The following company-owned Verizon Wireless Communications Stores hours of operation and phone numbers will be effective on January 25. Store Hours: Monday though Friday 9 a.m.–9 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m.–8 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m.–7 p.m.

  • Alexandria, Minn., Verizon Wireless Communications Store, 505 N. Nokomis St., Phone: 320-759-0765.
  • Bemidji, Minn., Verizon Wireless Communications Store, 2405 Hannah Ave. N.W., Phone: 218-333-8500.
  • Brainerd, Minn., Verizon Wireless Communications Store, 14091 Baxter Drive Suite 109, Phone: 218-824-0311.
  • Detroit Lakes, Minn., Verizon Wireless Communications Store, 1648 Highway 10 W., Phone: 218-847-6655.
  • Grand Rapids, Minn., Verizon Wireless Communications Store, 1200 S. Pokegama Ave., Phone: 218-327-1155.

In addition, the following is a partial list of authorized retailers that will be offering Verizon Wireless service, with hours of operation and phone numbers effective January 25:

  • Fergus Falls, Minn., Cellular Communications, 409 W. Lincoln Ave., Phone: 218-998-7600, Store Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sunday Noon –5 p.m.
  • Hibbing, Minn., Z Wireless, 3899 Highway 73, Suite 2, Phone: 218-262-1811, Store Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
  • Thief River Falls, Minn., North Star Telecom, 201 Brooks Ave N., Phone: 218-689-4962, Store Hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
  • Watertown, S.D., Z Wireless, 1203 9th Ave S.E., Phone: 605-880-2005, Store Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Sunday Noon –5 p.m.

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 83.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 85,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, visit 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.

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