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Verizon to Roll Out New Service

Orange County and parts of L.A. are set for the start-up of the mobile high-speed data product.

September 23, 2004|James S. Granelli | Times Staff Writer

Verizon Wireless will introduce its mobile high-speed data service in the Los Angeles-Orange County region and other metropolitan areas nationwide Monday after a year of tuneups.

The nation's largest cellular phone company said Wednesday that it would make the product, called BroadbandAccess, available first to businesspeople who need to stay connected to the Internet while they travel through parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The $79.99 monthly service -- essentially a high-speed cellphone connection for laptops -- will be marketed to nonbusiness customers, probably starting in the spring, said Dennis Strigl, Verizon Wireless' chief executive.

Verizon Wireless, 55%- owned by New York based Verizon Communications Inc., started offering the service a year ago in San Diego and Washington.

Though the expanded service is available in all of Orange County, it covers only the western half of Los Angeles County, from places such as Brentwood, downtown and Hawaiian Gardens to the Pacific. Strigl said coverage would be expanded through the entire county during the next three months.

The company is spending $1 billion nationwide to upgrade cell towers and software so it can reach two-thirds of the country by the end of next year.

Verizon Wireless also is rolling out the high-speed service in New York; Philadelphia; Atlanta; Baltimore; Miami-Fort Lauderdale; Kansas City, Mo. and Kan.; Tampa, Fla.; Austin, Texas; and West Palm Beach, Fla.

"This is one of the future drivers for Verizon Wireless, and it's good to see more and more cities have access," said Craig Nedbalski, an analyst at Victory Capital Management Inc. in Cleveland.

Sprint Corp., which operates on the same cellular technology as Verizon Wireless, will offer its competing product this year in a few markets and throughout the nation by mid-2005, said spokesman David Mellin.

Bloomberg News was used in compiling this report.

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