Verizon Wireless

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Verizon Wireless
Subsidiary of Verizon Communications
Industry Telecommunications
Founded April 4, 2000; 16 years ago (2000-04-04)
Bedminster, New Jersey, United States
Headquarters Basking Ridge, New Jersey, United States
Number of locations
Area served
United States
Key people
  • Lowell McAdam (CEO)
  • Andrew Davies (CFO)
  • David Small (COO)
Services Mobile telephony
Parent Verizon Communications
Slogan Better Matters
Footnotes / references

Verizon Wireless (legally named Cellco Partnership,[4] often branded and referred to as Verizon) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon Communications offering telecommunications products and services. With 141.4 million subscribers as of May 2016, Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless telecommunications provider in the United States.[5]

The company is headquartered in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. It was founded in 2000 as a joint venture of American telecommunications firm Bell Atlantic, which would soon become Verizon Communications, and British multinational telecommunications company Vodafone.[6] Verizon Communications became sole owner in 2014 by buying Vodafone's 45-percent stake in the company.[7]

The company operates a national 4G LTE network covering about 97 percent of the U.S.,[8] which in December 2015 won or tied for top honors in each category of the RootMetrics RootScore Reports.[9] Verizon Wireless offers mobile phone services through a variety of devices.[10] Its LTE in Rural America Program, with 21 rural wireless carriers participating, covers 2.7 million potential users in 169 rural counties.[11] Verizon Wireless announced in 2015 that it was developing a 5G, or fifth generation, network.[12]


In 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.[13] 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 (legally Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless).[14] Verizon Communications owned 55 percent of Verizon Wireless while Vodafone retained 45 percent ownership.[6] Regulators with the Federal Communications Commission approved the Bell Atlantic-GTE merger June 16, 2000,[15] creating the largest wireless company in the U.S.[16] Verizon Wireless held this market position until Cingular acquired AT&T Wireless Services in 2004.[17]

Throughout the 2000s, Verizon acquired several wireless phone companies and assets across the country, including West Virginia Wireless in 2006;[18] Ramcell in 2007;[19] Rural Cellular Corporation[20] and SureWest Communications, both in 2008.[21] Also in 2008, Verizon struck a deal to buy Alltel for $5.9 billion in equity while assuming $22.2 billion worth of debt.[22][23] The deal finalized January 9, 2009, again making Verizon Wireless the country's biggest cellphone network.[22] 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.[24] Verizon's acquisitions continued in the 2010s, including the purchases of some Plateau Wireless markets in 2012[25] and Golden State Cellular's operator in 2014.[26]

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.[7][27] An article in The New York Times estimated Verizon Wireless' valuation at about $290 billion.[7]

In late 2014 it became known that Verizon Wireless uses deep packet inspection for server-side insertion of a customer-unique ID field ("X-UIDH") into all unencrypted HTTP headers. The mechanism has been referred to as "supercookie" or "perma-cookie", although it is not technically a cookie in that it does not store information on the customers device and is transparent to the user. It can not be averted with common mechanisms like ad-blockers; however it can not be inserted into encrypted HTTPS and VPN connections. Verizon advertises the system to marketing partners. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has called on Verizon to terminate the program, calling it a "profound violation of trust", expressing concern over abuse by third parties, and questioning the legality of Verizon modifying their users' outgoing data without offering them the possibility of a full opt-out.[28][29][30][31][32] In January 2015, Verizon announced they would give customers the option of opting out, and as of April 1, 2015, Verizon now allows customers to opt-out either online or calling a special phone number.[33]


Verizon Wireless operates a 4G LTE network, which, as of January 2016, covers about 97 percent of the U.S.[8] Verizon began its initial tests for the 4G LTE network in 2008[12] in order to move from older-generation mobile communications technologies to the emerging global standard.[34] In December 2010, Verizon Wireless launched a fledgling 4G LTE network in 38 markets.[12][35] The service provider bought spectrum from the country's biggest cable companies, including Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in 2012 to improve its data network across the U.S.[36] The new capacity allowed Verizon to launch what it calls XLTE, providing more capacity in congested areas such as Los Angeles and New York City.[37] By 2014, Verizon Wireless' LTE network covered more than 300 million potential customers.[38]

Because 4G LTE is a data-transmitting network, Verizon customers' voice calls were still carried over the company's CDMA network,[39] which was developed for 2G and 3G cellphones.[40] In September 2014, Verizon launched voice over LTE (VoLTE), commonly referred to as VoLTE;[41] this allowed voice calls to transmit via the data-only LTE network.[39] Verizon brands this, along with their Wi-Fi Calling feature (which allows calls to be placed over a Wi-Fi Network, and was launched in early 2016) as Advanced Calling 1.0. As of August 2015, nearly 4 million of Verizon's 103.7 million subscribers used VoLTE.[41]

A report by RootMetrics on carrier performance in the first half of 2015 ranked Verizon's network as the best in overall national performance, network reliability, network speed, data performance and call performance.[42] For the second half of 2015, RootMetrics's RootScore Report ranked Verizon Wireless No. 1 in overall performance, network speed, network reliability, call performance and data performance.[9] Verizon Wireless and AT&T tied for first in text performance.[9]

Verizon Wireless announced in September 2015 that it was developing its 5G, or fifth generation, network.[12] In the prior month, Verizon created small areas to test the 5G technology in Massachusetts and California.[12] As of 2016, Verizon is one of two major nationwide cellphone companies supporting CDMA (code division multiple access) technology (the other being Sprint), which served as the basis for Verizon Wireless' network prior to 4G LTE.[34]

Radio frequency summary[edit]

Further information: UMTS frequency bands and LTE frequency bands

The following is a list of known 3G and LTE frequencies which Verizon employs in the United States:

Frequencies used on the Verizon Network
Frequency Band Band number Protocol Class Status Notes
850 MHz 0 1xRTT/EV-DO/eHRPD 3G Active Currently retaining for CDMA Voice Calls
1900 MHz PCS 1 1xRTT/EV-DO/eHRPD 3G Reallocating to 4G [43] Reallocating to the below 1900MHZ PCS 4G LTE spectrum
1900 MHz PCS 2 LTE 4G Being Deployed[44] Reallocated as 4G LTE from the above 1900 MHz PCS 3G spectrum
700 MHz Block C 13 LTE 4G Active Main LTE band, completed deployment mid-2013.[45]
1700/2100 MHz AWS 4 LTE 4G Active Branded as "XLTE",[46] Additional band for increased bandwidth in major markets. Rolling out to new markets as needed.
A panoramic view within a Verizon Wireless Store, Norwalk, CT, United States
A panoramic view within a Verizon Wireless Store, Norwalk, Conn., taken in 2012.

RootMetrics RootScore Awards[edit]

Verizon has historically done well on RootMetrics RootScore Reports.[47]

In December 2015, Verizon won (or tied for) every award given out, the only carrier to ever do so.[48]

Listed below are all of Verizon's U.S. RootMetrics RootScore Awards. The data is based on a national level, which RootMetrics started testing in December 2013.

RootMetrics RootScore Reports Overall performance rank Call performance rank Text performance rank Data performance rank Network speed rank Network reliability rank
December 2013[48] #1 #1 #1 #1 #2 #1
August 2014[48] #1 #1 #2 #1 #1 #1
December 2014[48] #1 #1 #3 #1 #1 #1
August 2015[48] #1 #1 #2 #1 #1 #1
December 2015[48] #1 #1 #1 (Tied with AT&T) #1 #1 #1


Verizon Wireless offers various proprietary smartphone apps for devices on its network. The company launched a cloud-based storage service called Verizon Cloud in April 2013, initially for Android phones,[49] followed the next month by a launch for iOS.[50] The Verizon Cloud app allows users to backup data, including photos, videos, contacts, messages and call logs, which are then accessible on computers and tablets.[49][50] The My Verizon Mobile app allows Android, iOS and BlackBerry smartphone users to access their accounts to change settings, plans and features while monitoring data usage or making bill payments.[51][52] Verizon Messages is a text messaging app that allows users to send and receive text, photo and video messages from the user's cellphone and also via their computers and non-cellphone Android and iOS devices.[53] VZ Navigator is Verizon's paid, subscription-based maps and navigation application. It provides turn-by-turn navigation, crowdsourced traffic data, weather, events and entertainment listings, gas prices, roadside assistance, 2D and 3D views.[54] On Android phones, the wireless company offers an app called Verizon Support & Protection for anti-virus protection. The same app for iOS offers help for users to find lost phones.[55]

The company has a subscription-based app for families called Verizon Family Locator that helps track family members. It works on up to 10 phones and features locations, maps, directions, text messages and other information.[56][57] Additionally, the company created another family-focused subscription-based app called Verizon Family Base that allows parents to restrict when and how their children use their phones, view their children's contacts and lock the devices.[57][58] Verizon also offers an app called GizmoPal that controls a wearable wrist phone for young children. The app gives parents and guardians the ability to restrict who can call their children. Additionally, it provides access to the GPS of the children's device.[59][60]

The NFL Mobile app allows Verizon Wireless subscribers to stream National Football League games and NFL Network on their devices. While previously a subscription-based service, NFL Mobile was made free to all subscribers beginning in the 2015 NFL season. As part of an exclusivity agreement with the NFL, only Verizon Wireless subscribers may stream NFL telecasts to smartphones.[61][62][63] As part of a similar deal that also granted the carrier title sponsorship of the series, Verizon also has exclusivity on phone streaming of Verizon IndyCar Series races via its official app.[64]

Other Verizon Wireless apps include Field Force Manager, which allows employers to manage employees with GPS, management timesheets and oversee travel,[65] Visual Voice Mail[66] and Roadside Assistance.[67][68]

Products and services[edit]

Verizon Wireless offers cellphones, home telephone, and Internet services through a variety of devices.

Wireless phone services[edit]

Verizon Wireless offers smartphones powered by Apple's iOS, Google's Android, Microsoft's Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS.[10] Its basic phones use Verizon's 3G network, while the smartphones use their 4G LTE network.[10] The company offers different voice and data plans for its users.[69][70]

Wireless Home Phone[edit]

Introduced in February 2011 as Verizon Wireless Home Phone Connect, Wireless Home Phone uses Verizon's cellular network rather than using traditional landline wires to provide home phone service.[71]

Mobile Wi-Fi and broadband[edit]

Verizon Wireless sells Wi-Fi hotspot devices, including Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot AC791L and Jetpack MiFi 6620L.[72] Verizon Wireless' home Internet services includes 4G LTE Broadband Router with Voice that can power a home's wireless network and connect up to 10 devices and a home phone.[73]

LTE in Rural America[edit]

The LTE in Rural America Program (or LRA program), introduced in May 2010, covers 2.7 million potential users over 225,000 miles in 169 rural counties.[11] Currently, 21 rural wireless carriers participate in the program. Under this program, partners lease spectrum from Verizon Wireless and connect to the company's network, and Verizon provides technical support and resources to help the rural wireless company build out its own 4G LTE network. The program extends the footprint of 4G LTE coverage for both the rural carrier and Verizon, as customers can take advantage of both networks.[74] As of 2015, all LRA members have fully rolled out their 4G LTE networks.


  • Appalachian Wireless
  • Bluegrass Cellular
  • Carolina West Wireless
  • Cellcom
  • Cellular One (Western Wireless)
  • Chariton Valley
  • Chat Mobility
  • Convergence Technologies
  • Copper Valley Telecom
  • Sprocket Wireless
  • Custer Telephone
  • Ketchikan Public Utilities
  • Matanuska Telephone Association
  • Mid-Rivers Wireless
  • Nemont
  • Northwest Missouri
  • Pioneer Cellular
  • Sagebrush Cellular
  • Strata Networks
  • S & R Communications
  • Thumb Cellular

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]