BEDMINSTER, NJ — With the start of the 2005 hurricane season around the corner, Verizon Wireless' team of "test men and women" are fine tuning the company's network to maintain its reputation as provider of the nation's most reliable wireless network when it really counts. The company's national team of test men and women work to ensure coverage and call quality across the Verizon Wireless nationwide network, including areas which are often directly in the path of hurricanes, as well as other regions that can be affected by these storms.
Last year, the Verizon Wireless network lived up to its reputation as the nation's most reliable. In the aftermaths of hurricanes that swept through the Florida/Gulf Coast region of the U.S., the Verizon Wireless network significantly outperformed the competition. For example, along the Florida Turnpike and I-95 in Palm Beach, Saint Martin, Saint Lucie and Indian River Counties only hours after Hurricane Frances on September 7, the "Call Success Rate" on the Verizon Wireless network measured 96 percent, compared to other carriers with call completion rates as low as 3 percent. For a complete report on Verizon Wireless hurricane performance, visit http://www.verizonwireless.com/news/article/2004/09/pr2004-09-24a.html.
With its network performing well, Verizon Wireless was able to provide thousands of free phones and millions of minutes of airtime to relief organizations and emergency workers when other communications networks lost coverage during the storms. In addition, the company also set up Emergency Communications Centers to enable residents to contact loved ones, insurance companies and/or disaster relief agencies.
"We take our role in public safety very seriously," said Dick Lynch, Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of Verizon Wireless. "Our customers depend on their wireless phones every day-and it's especially important for calls to go through during times of emergency. Preparing for these emergencies and maintaining the nation's most reliable wireless network play an important part in our commitment to our customers."
Verizon Wireless preparation for the 2005 hurricane season includes:
- The Verizon Wireless network is built for reliability in emergencies, with battery back up power at all facilities, as well as generators installed at all switching facilities and many cell site locations. This capability is critical when power goes out and if roads are impassable in the wake of a storm.
- The company has a fleet of Cells on Wheels (COWS) and Cells on Light Trucks (COLTS), which are self-powered transmitters that can be rolled into hard-hit locations or areas that need extra network capacity. Network teams also have hundreds of generators ready to go to further strengthen the network.
- Verizon Wireless is fully prepared to again quickly set up wireless emergency communication centers (WECCs) to serve residents and rescue agencies in the area(s) in the greatest need.
- The company has developed and practiced a comprehensive emergency response plan, including preparing emergency command centers in the case of a storm or crisis.
Verizon Wireless has regularly invested more than $4 billion nationally each year since its inception and more than $5 billion last year alone to expand and upgrade its nationwide wireless network. The company's most reliable network claim is based on the network studies completed by test men and women, who conduct more than 300,000 calls monthly on the national Verizon Wireless network and other wireless carriers' networks while traveling more than 100,000 miles in specially-equipped company test vehicles.
(Editors: Video footage with helpful tips for consumers to prepare for hurricanes and other severe weather is available in the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.
To accompany local test men and women in areas where hurricane preparedness is under way, contact Tom Pica at 908-306-4385 or Thomas.Pica@VerizonWireless.com)
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 45.5 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at 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.