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Verizon Wireless Opens In Town
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The nation’s largest and most reliable wireless voice and 3G network — if Verizon Wireless’s advertising is to be believed — has come to a store front in Oakdale.

For Verizon customers, this is a welcome addition to the community, and for Sonora neighbors, as customers previously had to drive to Riverbank or Stockton to walk into a Verizon store.

Not anymore.

According to local store manager Nick Carpenter, the new store opened next door to the UPS store in the SaveMart shopping center in October but people are still shocked when they walk in and discover the wireless shop.

Already though they’ve been a “life-saver” for a customer.

“Travelers from New York were on their way to Yosemite and stopped in to pick up a cell phone charger because they’d forgotten theirs at home,” Carpenter said. “They were very happy to see Verizon here.”

Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications, and Vodafone. The company built the nation’s first wide-area wireless broadband network and delivered the nation’s first wireless consumer 3G multimedia service.

Recently, Verizon acquired the ability to offer iPhones to its customers, something previously cornered by AT&T.

Carpenter said the local store should have iPhones in stock in about a month. But in the meantime, they have a full range of accessories — which sell out quickly due to their popularity — and they have plenty of other phones for sale as well. Customers can also make their cell phone payments from the store.

But another added benefit to a face-to-face for a customer or a potential customer is the ability to get answers to questions immediately, rather than being transferred from one phone tree to another before invariably getting dropped and having to start all over again.

For example, does Verizon have coverage where I live?

Carpenter has the answer. “We can actually zoom in on an address, rather than a radius of the address, and to see if you have coverage. It’s much more specific.”

Carpenter, although currently living in Stockton, likes the small-town feel of Oakdale, having originated from small-town roots in the Midwest.

“I’m a small-town person so I’m familiar with a small-town. The people are very nice here and it’s very homey,” he said.

Some facts about Verizon Wireless:

• Has101.1 million wireless customers, including 93.2 million customers and 7.9 million other connections

• Employs more than 79,000 employees

• More than 2,000 company-operated kiosks and stores

Verizon Wireless in Oakdale is located at 1449 E. F St.

For more information, call 847-1700.