News Release

Verizon Wireless Network Remains Strong In Wake Of Hurricane Isaac

Wireless Network Completing Over 98 Percent Of Calls For Gulf Coast Residents, Emergency Agencies

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August 30, 2012

Gretchen L. Whitaker
Gretchen.Whitaker@VerizonWireless.com
713-219-8028

NEW ORLEANS, LA — In the wake of Hurricane Isaac, the Verizon Wireless network remains strong serving residents and emergency personnel throughout the affected areas along the Gulf Coast.  In spite of significant power outages, severe wind, rain and flooding, the Verizon Wireless network continues to perform well in areas impacted by Hurricane Isaac.  Overall, cell service is very good, and with cell site overlap, coverage continues to be strong.  

In the hardest hit areas, where severe flooding has made it difficult to address power issues – places like Plaquemines Parish and a few rural locations, service may be spotty.  We expect to make improvements throughout the day as access to flooded areas improves.  The Verizon Wireless network team is monitoring our performance 24/7 and deploying generators where needed.

Advance preparation and ongoing multi-million dollar investments in the network and back up equipment, like battery and generator power, allowed residents to stay connected while the storm battered Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama residents earlier this week.

Verizon Wireless Communications Stores Are Open

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 is also providing phones to rescue agencies, and provided free minutes of air time to rescue agencies.

In addition, Verizon Wireless is also preparing to quickly set up Wireless Emergency Communication Centers (WECCs) to serve residents and rescue agencies in areas of greatest need (locations to be announced), allowing residents complimentary access to charging stations, free phone calls and internet access.

“Our network performance during Hurricane Isaac was strong as expected,” said Krista Bourne – president, Houston/Gulf Coast Region, Verizon Wireless.  “We prepare year-round for severe weather.  Verizon Wireless has the nation’s most reliable network and our advance preparation for any situation is a key component of our reliability.”

History of Reliability

Since the beginning of the year, Verizon Wireless has spent more than $300 million in the Houston/Gulf Coast region to strengthen and enhance its wireless network and continue to deploy its advanced 4G LTE service.

These kinds of intensive investments and preparations proved critical during the height of extraordinary storm seasons in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008.  In those years, the Verizon Wireless network across the Gulf Coast remained strong.  During Hurricane Katrina, Verizon Wireless averaged a 90% call completion rate during the days and weeks following the storm.

Ongoing Preparations

Other ongoing efforts to ensure a reliable network during the storm season and year-round include:

  • A comprehensive emergency response plan, including preparing emergency command centers across the Gulf Coast in the case of a storm or other crisis.
  • Network technicians travel hundreds of thousands of miles across the Gulf Coast in high-tech vehicles to measure the quality of Verizon Wireless voice and data service calls all across the state.
  • Verizon has a fleet of Cells on Wheels (COWS), Cells on Light Trucks (COLTS), and generators on trailers (GOaTS) that can be rolled into hard-hit locations or areas that need extra network capacity.
  • Pre-arranging fuel delivery to mobile units and generators to keep the network operating at full strength even if power is lost for an extended period of time.
  • Erecting new digital cell sites, of which about 80 percent have their own on-site generators and new expanded fuel tanks to extend their power-generating capacity.

These initiatives are part of a national network investment exceeding $70 billion to increase the coverage and capacity of Verizon’s premier nationwide network and to add new services. 

For more information on the Verizon Wireless network, products and services, visit www.verizonwireless.com.

(Editor’s Note: To obtain broadcast-quality video B-roll and still images of network operations/emergency preparations, visit the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library or contact Gretchen Whitaker at 713-219-8028).

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s largest 4G LTE network and largest, most reliable 3G network.  The company serves 94.2 million retail customers, including 88.8 million retail postpaid customers.  Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 78,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: 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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