GAINESVILLE, FL — While former Alltel customers, employees and stores in Florida already have been fully assimilated into Verizon Wireless, teams of engineers and technicians continue to successfully upgrade and reconfigure Alltel infrastructure into the more advanced Verizon Wireless EV-DO Rev. A network.
The behind-the-scenes project is largely invisible to wireless consumers, but it is an immense technical undertaking that reinforces strong wireless coverage and services for Verizon Wireless customers in Florida.
Network integration and enhancement recently has been completed in the Lake City, Ocala and Gainesville areas. The Jacksonville market was the first to be completed in Florida earlier this year. As part of this integration, all calls in North Florida now will be routed through the $40 million Verizon Wireless “super-switch” in Jacksonville, versus a series of older Alltel switching facilities.
Tallahassee and the Florida Panhandle are the next areas in Florida to be addressed by the company’s network teams, with the entire state expected to be integrated by 2011.
Across the state, more than 700 cell sites and several large switching facilities will eventually be upgraded and incorporated into the Verizon Wireless network, the nation’s largest and most reliable. This includes vast amounts of hardware and software enhancement and standardization.
“From a technical network perspective, this project is even bigger than when we launched the company here in Florida nearly 10 years ago,” said Frank Wise, Florida network director of Verizon Wireless. “Tens of thousands of man-hours have gone into making sure customers experience seamless and reliable service when we turn on these new resources.”
Wise praised his team for delivering creative technical solutions and the strongest wireless services for customers, as technicians were faced with large-scale and complicated high-tech challenges.
A major challenge, faced by Verizon Wireless engineers for the very first time, included successfully overlaying and transitioning the network in former Alltel areas from a 850 MHz frequency to a 1900 MHz wireless signal.
Another engineering success featured a hybrid roaming connection (free of roaming charges) so Alltel handsets and cell sites could communicate reliably with the Verizon Wireless network before more permanent hardware and software updates were made. Technicians then executed a complex three-phase “cut-over” in North Florida, stretching to the Georgia state line, when they transitioned and turned on former Alltel network resources. All these areas were then “drive-tested” by real-life test teams in high-tech vehicles that form the basis of the famous Verizon Wireless TV Test Man.
These efforts are to ensure enhanced network reliability and services, and to make the transition seamless for customers in these markets.
Verizon Wireless has the largest and most reliable high-speed 3G broadband network in the nation. In Florida in 2008, the company completed statewide coverage of its most advanced (EV-DO Rev. A) wireless broadband network. Verizon Wireless plans to roll out the nation’s first 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless network in 25 to 30 markets in 2010.
To keep improving and strengthening its coverage and services for Florida customers, Verizon Wireless has spent more than $2 billion on network enhancements throughout the state since the company was formed in 2000.
For more information on Verizon Wireless services, visit www.verizonwireless.com.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving 89 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 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.