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Verizon Wireless Customers Sent 20 Billion Text Messages in Feb. 2008

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Number of Texts on the Verizon Wireless Network Doubles in Just Eight Months

Seven years after the launch of basic text messaging, Verizon Wireless customers sent and received more than 10 billion messages in a single month — June 2007.

Eight short months later, the number of text messages on the Verizon Wireless network in a month (Feb. 2008) doubled to nearly 20 billion.

“The volume of text messages being sent and received by Verizon Wireless customers is growing exponentially,” said Mike Lanman, chief marketing officer of Verizon Wireless. “Whether it’s sports scores, news updates, the latest weather forecast, or the ‘joke of the day’, text messages are a tremendous way for anyone to stay on top of what’s happening in the world.

“Not to mention all of the parents — and grandparents — keeping up with their kids, or kids texting each other throughout the day, text messaging is becoming an increasingly important way to communicate for people of all ages,” Lanman added.

Benefits of Text Messaging
As texting grows into a more mainstream communications channel, opportunities grow for new and innovative messaging programs — some involving short codes — that allow citizens to participate in activities of their choice.

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Hundreds of contests, promotions and other “opt-in” campaigns have been launched in the past few years, giving marketers and advocates other ways to reach consumers with unique offers or information. Since 2005, wireless service providers have offered Wireless AMBER Alerts, allowing consumers to “opt-in” to receive a text message when an AMBER Alert about a missing or abducted child is issued in their area.

Using text messaging to fundraise for charity is another of those opportunities. Verizon Wireless believes it’s time to create a set of best practices around mobile giving, so Americans who contribute are protected and there is a solid framework in place for these campaigns.

Stopping Unwanted Text Messages and Wireless Spam
As the use and popularity of text messaging has increased, Verizon Wireless has been increasingly vigilant in its efforts to thwart wireless spam. Network filters prevent as many as 200 million spam messages per month from reaching customers’ handsets. When spam messages do get through, the company investigates outbreaks and in some cases, brings lawsuits against the spammers.

Verizon Wireless offers numerous ways for customers to block text messages — everything from stopping messages that originate on the Internet or e-mail (where most spam is generated) from being delivered, to blocking short code- based text message campaigns that involve premium charges, to completely turning off messaging to and from a handset. For example:

  • Vtext.com: Customers can log in with their mobile number and password, choose preferences, and choose text blocking, where they will see several options: 1) block all messages from the Web/Internet; 2) block all messages from e-mail; 3) block messages from up to 15 specific domain names or e-mail addresses. Customers can also choose to allow only texts sent to a nickname@vtext.com. Nicknames can be created by choosing the “nickname” tab on the left-hand side of the screen. The Web site can be accessed at www.vtext.com or text.vzw.com.
  • Premium SMS Blocking: Beginning in Jan. 2008, Verizon Wireless made available this feature which enables customers to block only text messages for short code campaigns that involve premium charges. Customers can add this option by visiting the “My Account” page on www.verizonwireless.com, then selecting features and choosing the add/delete button. They can also contact Customer Service.
  • V-BLOCK: This feature prevents incoming and outgoing text messages from being sent or received from a certain mobile number/handset. The only messages the customer will receive are voicemail alerts. Customers can add this option by calling Customer Service.

Federal Communications Commission regulations prohibit the use of automated dialers to call or send unsolicited text messages to cellphone numbers. Automated dialers are standard in the telemarketing industry; so most telemarketers are barred from calling consumers on their cellphones without their consent. Customers who want to add their cellphone number to the national Do Not Call registry may do so online at www.donotcall.gov.

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 65.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 69,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications NYSE: VZ and Vodafone NYSE: VOD LSE: VOD. For more information, go to: www.verizonwireless.com.

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