TAMPA, FL — Verizon Wireless announced today that it invested $105 million in the first six months of 2009 on new cell sites, network facilities and numerous other projects to enhance services and coverage for wireless customers throughout Florida.
Since 2000, the company has invested nearly $2 billion on network enhancements in Florida, and more than $50 billion throughout the nation.
Highlights of these enhancements in the first six months of 2009 include the activation of more than 30 new cell sites, the start of construction on a new $50 million switching facility in South Florida, and the integration and upgrade of former Alltel Wireless network facilities into the larger and more advanced Verizon Wireless network.
New cell sites
New cell sites were installed and activated throughout Florida to strengthen coverage and enhance 3G high-speed wireless services for customers. Multi-site projects were completed in Orlando and in the Disney World area, the Panhandle, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and in Lake and Marion counties near Ocala National Forest. Many other individual sites were activated throughout the state, which is covered by the most advanced Verizon Wireless 3G EV-DO (Rev. A) network.
South Florida switch
The new South Florida Mobile Telephone Switching Office (MTSO) is a 45,000-square-foot facility located on five acres in west Broward County. The facility will serve as the company’s main call-processing hub for South Florida, serving an area from Key West to Broward County. It will have the capacity to handle tens of millions of voice calls and wireless data transmissions (text and picture messages, downloads, e-mails, wireless internet connections and more) each day.
The new MTSO will also serve as the Verizon Wireless emergency operations center in South Florida, and be home to a fleet of COWs (cell on wheels), COLTs (cell on light trucks) and GOATs (generators on trucks) for use during and after significant events like hurricanes.
The structure, designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, will be equipped with large-scale back-up power generation, further enhancing the everyday and emergency strength of the Verizon Wireless network.
Construction of the latest Verizon Wireless “super switch” in Florida is scheduled to be complete later this summer, with full operation planned by the end of the year.
Verizon Wireless technicians are integrating more than 700 Alltel cell sites and several large switching facilities across the state to work as part of the largest and most advanced Verizon Wireless network.
Verizon Wireless completed its acquisition of Alltel in January and is the operator of the nation’s largest wireless voice and data network, now serving more than 86 million customers across the country.
With the integration of the former Alltel cell sites, many of which are located in smaller markets along the Gulf Coast or rural areas in North Florida, the Verizon Wireless company-owned network will cover nearly the entire state and virtually 100 percent of Florida’s population.
“Our network teams have taken on an extraordinary scope of work so far this year,” said Pam Tope, Florida region president of Verizon Wireless. “They’re always working to bring Florida customers the most advanced services and reliable coverage.”
Other Florida network highlights in the first half of 2009 include:
- More than 16 billion minutes of airtime were logged on the Verizon Wireless network in Florida during the first six months of 2009. Wireless data traffic increased over 51 percent from the same period in 2008.
- Verizon Wireless’ network technicians (who serve as the inspiration for the famous TV Test Man ad campaign) have traveled more than 50,000 miles across the state so far this year in special test vehicles equipped with phones, wireless data devices and computers to measure the quality of voice and data calls on the Verizon Wireless network, as well as other carriers’ wireless networks.
- Verizon Wireless rolled Cells On Wheels (COWs) to the BCS Championship in South Florida, the Super Bowl and World Series games in Tampa, and to the Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach to boost wireless coverage for fans, news media and local residents during the high-profile events. The high-tech COWs, each with a 75-foot telescoping antenna, 10 dedicated voice channels and two high-speed data channels, handle hundreds of phone calls and data transmissions simultaneously.
The high-speed Verizon Wireless 3G network gives customers access to a wide array of advanced services such as V CAST – in which customers can stream video clips, play cutting-edge 3D games and download full song tracks over the air; and VZ Navigator(SM) – a location-based service offering maps, audible driving directions, traffic updates, gas station locations and pricing.
This technology also enables customers to wirelessly access their e-mail and calendars, the Internet and other information anytime, anywhere via a secure connection with the company’s Mobile Broadband service. Mobile Broadband offers average download speeds of 600 kilobits per second (kbps) to 1.4 megabits per second and upload speeds of 500-800 kbps, which means being able to upload or download a 1 Megabyte e-mail attachment – the equivalent of a small PowerPoint® presentation or a large PDF file – in less than two seconds.
For more information on Verizon Wireless services, visit www.verizonwireless.com.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For a Test Man ride-along or to tour a Verizon Wireless network facility, please contact Chuck Hamby at 813-615-4803 or Ed Gilhuly at 305-807-6906.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and data network, serving 87.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with more than 87,000 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.