Verizon Wireless will spend $100 million during the next three years to improve and expand its call centers, while increasing its customer service staff by 6% by the end of the year.

The company, which is based in Bedminster, N.J., expects to have about 14,700 customer service staffers at the end of the year. Verizon Wireless, which was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of

Bell Atlantic

,

GTE

and

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

, projected similar job growth for 2002 and 2003. Bell Atlantic and GTE merged last year to form

Verizon Communications

(VZ) - Get Report

.

Separately, published reports indicated that the

Justice Department

has lingering doubts as to whether Verizon Communications has met the federal requirements to provide long-distance telephone service to local customers in Massachusetts.

Verizon Wireless will open new call centers in Rancho Cordova, Calif.; Greenville, S.C.; Pittsburgh; and Salt Lake City. Call centers in Wallingford, Conn.; Alpharetta, Ga.; Elgin, Ill.; Southfield, Mich.; Rochester, N.Y.; Dublin, Ohio; Orangeburg, N.Y.; and Columbia, S.C., will be updated and expanded.

Nine of the company's 33 call center facilities aren't capable of meeting Verizon's expansion needs. Centers in Atlanta; Greenville, S.C.; Warrendale, Pa.; and Folsom, Calif., will be moved to new larger sites. About 700 employees at five centers closing in Englewood, Colo.; Meriam, Ill.; Woburn, Mass.; Harrisburg, Pa.; and Las Vegas will be offered relocation packages to stay on the Verizon Wireless payroll elsewhere.

Earlier this month, Verizon Communications said it was planning

cost-cutting measures that would result in the elimination of some jobs and a reduction in the amount of overtime given to employees.