SOUTHFIELD — Verizon Wireless was to announce Tuesday that it invested $265 million in 2011 to enhance its network in Michigan. Included was the expansion of 4G LTE to nearly 150 cities, townships and communities, nearly 50 universities and colleges and three professional sporting venues.

The company’s continuing investment to support Michigan’s infrastructure required for economic development and robust business growth included:
* Adding new cell sites and upgrading equipment on existing cell sites to increase coverage and capacity of the company’s voice and data network;
* Installing permanent backup generators at cell sites to ensure the network remains reliable during times of crisis;
* And prepping the backbone of the network to deploy 4G LTE at urban and rural locations across the state.

“The reliability of Verizon’s network is a vital key for not only businesses, research parks, start-ups and entrepreneurs, but also for consumers,” said John Granby, president of the Michigan-Indiana-Kentucky Region of Verizon Wireless. “As Verizon continues to cover America with the blazing fast speeds 4G LTE offers, customers will depend on our network even more, thereby changing the face of how we do business and how we rely on wireless devices.”

Granby said the strategic investment will help major urban centers as well as innovative rural broadband communities across Michigan to be front and center as they bid on new businesses and host events such as the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, ArtPrize in Grand Rapids and the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City. Since the company was formed in 2000, Verizon Wireless has invested more than $1.8 billion on improvements to its network in Michigan.

In Michigan, Verizon Wireless has more than 2,100 employees and 65 company-owned retail locations in more than 50 cities.

Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s largest 4G LTE network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves 108.7 million total wireless connections, including 92.2 million retail customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with nearly 82,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD).

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