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Verizon's logo as of September 2, 2015
|Founded||April 4, 2000
Bedminster, New Jersey, United States
|Headquarters||Basking Ridge, New Jersey, United States|
Number of locations
|Footnotes / references
Headquartered in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, the company was originally a joint venture of American telecommunications firm Bell Atlantic, which would soon become Verizon Communications, and global British telecommunications company Vodafone.
Verizon Wireless' slogan was "Never Settle", a slogan that was also used in other Verizon assets, namely Verizon FiOS. As of September 2nd, 2015, Verizon changed their logo, with the new slogan, "Better Matters."
HistoryIn September 1999, American phone company Bell Atlantic and U.K.-based Vodafone Airtouch PLC announced they would create a new wireless phone service joint venture valued at $70 billion in September 1999. The joint venture was being created as Bell Atlantic underwent a merger with GTE Corporation. In April 2000, the companies announced that the Bell Atlantic-GTE merger would take the name Verizon and that the Bell Atlantic-Vodafone wireless unit would be called Verizon Wireless. Verizon Communications owned 55 percent of Verizon Wireless while Vodafone retained 45 percent ownership. Regulators with the Federal Communications Commission approved the Bell Atlantic-GTE merger June 16, 2000, creating the largest wireless company in the U.S. Verizon Wireless held this market position until Cingular acquired AT&T in 2004.
Throughout the 2000s, Verizon acquired several wireless phone companies and assets across the country, including West Virginia Wireless in 2006; Ramcell in 2007; Rural Cellular Corporation and SureWest Communications, both in 2008. Also in 2008, Verizon struck a deal to buy Alltel for $5.9 billion in equity while assuming $22.2 billion worth of debt. The deal finalized January 9, 2009, again making Verizon Wireless the country's biggest cellphone network. As per the agreement, Verizon sold rural wireless properties across 18 states to AT&T. Those properties were in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming. Verizon's acquisitions continued in the 2010s, including the purchases of some Plateau Wireless markets in 2012 and Golden State Cellular's operator in 2014.
Majority owner Verizon Communications became sole owner of its wireless business in 2014, when it bought Vodafone's 45 percent stake. Vodafone received $58.9 billion cash, $60.2 billion in stock and $11 billion in other transactions. An article in The New York Times estimated Verizon Wireless' valuation at about $290 billion.
A November 2014 story in The Washington Post reported that Verizon Wireless used "supercookies" to track its mobile customers on the Web for targeted advertisements. After facing criticism for the practice, Verizon Wireless announced in January 2015 that customers could opt-out of the program.
In areas where Verizon has no native coverage, such as parts of Maryland, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Maine, Montana, and Puerto Rico, Verizon roams onto other regional CDMA and LTE networks (if the carrier is part of the LTE in Rural America program) through carriers such as U.S. Cellular, Pioneer Cellular, and other partner carriers. Verizon refers to these networks as "Extended", and customers can use their devices as they would in Verizon's native coverage area, with some Verizon services being unavailable.
On June 30, 2007, Verizon Wireless completed the overhaul of the entire EV-DO network to EV-DO Rev. A. This enables PC Cards and certain phones to obtain theoretical peak download speeds of 3.1 Mbit/s and upload speeds of up to 1.8 Mbit/s. The actual download and upload speeds vary due to a number of factors, and users will typically see speeds close to 1 Mbit/s down, and 500 kbit/s up.
On November 27, 2007, Verizon Wireless announced plans to allow all cell phones compatible with their CDMA-based cellular network technology to run on their network. Users of such phones are also allowed to use any application they wish.
However, on September 20, 2007, Verizon Wireless announced a joint effort with the Vodafone Group to transition their networks to the 4G standard LTE and on November 29, 2007, Verizon Wireless announced that they would start LTE trials in 2008. On December 9, 2008, Verizon announced that they intend to build and begin to roll out an LTE network, by the beginning of 2011. Adopting LTE would make for a gradual shift away from Verizon Wireless’ current use of CDMA-based cellular network technology and offer increased operability for users traveling worldwide.
On January 25, 2009, Verizon Wireless released its first femtocell called the Verizon Wireless Network Extender.
On December 5, 2010 Verizon Wireless launched its "4G LTE" (Long Term Evolution) network. In an announcement made on January 6, 2011, from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Verizon Wireless stated in the first half of 2011 they will release: 10 new LTE devices including, five smartphones, two tablets, two netbooks, and two MiFi hotspots.
On August 21, 2012, the FCC approved Verizon's $3.6 billion purchase of cellular frequencies from cable companies Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and Bright House.
In 2013, Verizon entered the Alaska market with the first LTE-only cellular network in the country. Like the earlier LTE network in the "lower 48" U.S. states, it was data-only at first.
In September 2014, it began offering "Advanced Calling 1.0" service (also called "HD Voice" in the industry) via voice over LTE within its own footprint, and regular calling via roaming on other carriers.