WASHINGTON, DC — Verizon Wireless president and CEO Denny Strigl today said that federal officials would best serve wireless telecommunications customers and hasten the roll-out of advanced wireless services by delaying a scheduled fall auction of radio frequency (RF) spectrum.
In testimony before the House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Strigl said, "I want to make one and only one point in my testimony: The wireless communications industry's continued ability to provide critical benefits to the American public and the nation's economy depends on gaining access to more radio spectrum."
In that light, Strigl called on Congress to delay the 700 MHz spectrum auction until a plan for addressing the spectrum's current encumbrances is fully considered and adopted by federal officials. Television broadcasters, which are transitioning from 700 MHz to other spectrum as they move to digital services, may be encouraged by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to voluntarily vacate this area of the spectrum band. But until that time, Strigl said, "Selling off such severely encumbered spectrum not only makes no sense, it will severely depress the value of the spectrum and thus decrease the revenues that the federal government will receive."
Strigl said Verizon Wireless sees legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Florida), H.R. 4758, which would lift the spectrum cap for new spectrum auctions beginning January 1, 2001, as a modest first step. Verizon Wireless supports total repeal of the spectrum cap, which has a chilling effect on carriers who want to plan for providing advanced wireless services.
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 25 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE:BEL), Vodafone AirTouch Plc (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD), and GTE Corp. (NYSE:GTE). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. The new company has a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets.
Verizon Wireless, headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, is 30,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at: www.verizonwireless.com/mediacenter.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 95 million access lines and 25 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com .