TAMPA, FL — Despite an estimated attendance of 400,000 at the 2009 Gasparilla Pirate Fest last week, Verizon Wireless announced today that its customers’ wireless calls were not sent to Davy Jones’ locker. The leading wireless company with the most reliable voice and data network successfully handled a 275 percent increase in wireless traffic on the five cell sites that serve the area, compared to a typical Saturday in south Tampa.
Between 2 and 3 p.m. – the busiest hour for chatty residents, businesses, event organizers and tourists attending the Parade of the Pirates –Verizon Wireless had all hands on deck to handle an astounding 527 percent increase in voice and data transmissions.
In the weeks and months leading up to annual Gasparilla pirate invasion, the company upgraded digital transmission sites in the area to ensure that the Verizon Wireless network could handle the large crowds making calls, sending photo and video messages, and using other advanced wireless applications.
Verizon Wireless also deployed a full team of dedicated techs, and rolled out a high-tech COW (Cell on Wheels) to further strengthen the network in and around downtown Tampa. Featuring a 75-foot telescoping antenna and 11 dedicated voice and high-speed data channels, the COW handled hundreds of phone calls and data transmissions simultaneously before, during and after the event.
Verizon Wireless invested more than $155 million in its Florida network in 2008 to ensure the most advanced and reliable service for local customers and visitors. This investment included a $20 million enhancement to the company’s Tampa Bay digital switching facility, as well as the completion of the Verizon Wireless 3G high-speed wireless network throughout the state.
The high-speed network allows 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 use 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.About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and data network, serving more than 80 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with more than 85,000 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.