MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Verizon Wireless announced today it invested more than $100.9 million in 2009 to enhance its digital network in Minnesota. The enhancements included building twenty-one new cell sites and upgrading equipment to increase coverage and capacity of the company’s voice and 3G high-speed wireless network.
Verizon Wireless significantly expanded its network presence in the state. The company added 25,957 square-miles of coverage in northern Minnesota with the integration of the former Rural Cellular Corporation (RCC) network that operated under the Unicel brand; and added 18,263 square-miles of new coverage in southern Minnesota, in former Alltel market areas that did not overlap existing Verizon Wireless coverage.
“Today the Verizon Wireless network offers seamless coverage in over 70,000 square-miles (88 per cent of the state) to more than 4.85 million Minnesotans,” said Nancy Clark, president–Great Plains Region, Verizon Wireless. “The most advanced device is only as good as the network it runs on. Each year we continue to add new cell sites and invest in our network to enable us to stay ahead of our customers’ increasing demands for fast and secure wireless data services.”
From 2001 through 2009, Verizon Wireless invested more than $619.1 million on improvements to its network in Minnesota, including the following upgrades made in 2009:
- Twenty-one cell sites were activated throughout the state to improve network coverage and capacity, enabling more customers to use their wireless phones concurrently to make voice calls; send and receive e-mail and text, picture and video messages; access the Internet; view high-quality videos; and download music, games and ringtones, while enjoying clearer reception and fewer dropped calls.
- Upgraded the 3G high-speed network in northern Minnesota, formerly operating under the Unicel brand, giving customers faster data upload and download speeds. This network upgrade improved 3G service to 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, as well as other locations.
- In parts of southern Minnesota, the former Alltel network was upgraded to the latest 3G high-speed network technology, known as Evolution Data Optimized (EV-DO) Revision A. This upgrade offers consumer’s data speeds ten to fifteen times faster then the previous 1XRTT data network. The improved service includes the following communities: Amboy, Blue Earth, Brownton, Clara City, Cosmos, Cottonwood, Dassel, Echo, Fountain City, Gaylord, Glencoe, Good Thunder, Granite Falls, Litchfield, Mapleton, Minnesota Lake, New Richland, Silver Lake, St. Clair, Tracy, Wells, Winnebago, Winona.
- Performance-based equipment was installed at 19 cell sites across Minnesota, increasing capacity of the company’s advanced 3G high-speed wireless network as well as improving its speed and performance.
- Permanent backup generators were installed at an additional 32 Minnesota cell sites to ensure network functionality during times of crisis.
Verizon Wireless has invested more than $55 billion since it was formed—$5.5 billion on average every year—to increase the coverage and capacity of its premier nationwide network and to add new services. In 2009 alone, the company invested $7 billion to expand and advance its network.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving more than 91 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 83,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NASDAQ 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.