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Verizon Speeds Up LTE Launch

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[qi:___wimax] Next year, Verizon (s VZ)  subscribers in a few markets may be surfing the web at warp speed as the carrier said on Tuesday that it would begin deploying LTE next year — a year ahead of schedule. Several vendors had warned me that a U.S. carrier was talking about LTE in 2009. Given that Sprint (s S)  had chosen WiMAX, AT&T (s T) is sticking with HSPA until 2011 or so, and that T-Mobile is just rolling out 3G, Verizon was the likely contender — possibly driven by the desire to get out ahead of WiMAX.

At the Cisco Systems’ C-Scape conference in San Jose, Calif., Dick Lynch, executive VP and chief technology officer of Verizon Communications confirmed the news, saying, “We expect that LTE will actually be in service somewhere here in the U.S. probably this time next year.” Sure, it won’t be widely available right away, and if the economy still sucks, I’m wondering how much they can charge for 4G. Unlimited WiMAX pricing is around $40-50 a month, and their own 3G service costs $60. However, this is still pretty awesome for those of us on the go.

30 Responses to “Verizon Speeds Up LTE Launch”

  1. charles

    VZW has been getting ready for LTE for sometime now. a hefty percentage of their cell sites already have at least a t3….via fiber. this also is in part to cut out the local telco cost for (slow & costly) T1’s.

  2. Mokaholic

    Many things affect transfer rate beyond simple radio capability—one major element being distance from the base station. The physics of radio cannot be avoided. Longer ranges result in lower bandwidth delivered. Also, the spectrum channel size (1.e. 20 MHz or other) that regulation defines as appropriate for different frequency bands will dictate bandwidth capabilities at least to some extent. Also, remember that the RF and physical environment play a strong role in throughput results. Essentially, the real world blunts theoretical performance.The physics of frequency range plays a powerful role in bandwidth capability. The higher the frequency, the greater the bandwidth delivery potential and the shorter range potential. Lower frequencies enjoy much greater range capability, but trade that off with much lower bandwidth potential.

  3. Dejan,

    Not sure what physics you’re talking about, but in this universe all frequencies (from radio to visible light to gamma rays) travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles/second through a vacuum).

    The frequency being used does not dictate the speed of the connection.

  4. don’t trust Bell Atlantic ..The back-end infrastructure won’t be online till two years afterwards ..have you ever called Verizons Customer Service for anything …its a nighmare I would rather call India ..that says a lot

  5. Ertaz:

    Faster? Faster than what? LTE at 700Mhz surely won’t be faster than WiMAX at 2.5Ghz (i.e., 2500Mhz). LTE at 700Mhz will be able to travel FARTHER, but most assuredly NOT FASTER. WiMAX at 2.5Ghz will travel FASTER, but NOT FARTHER.

    So, if you want top-notch speed, you’ll need WiMAX. If you want to have a signal despite the nearest tower being several miles away, then LTE from Verizon makes sense.

    Otherwise, the laws of Physics still apply. Given a finite amount of energy, as the signal speed (i.e., frequency) increases, the distance it travels decreases. So, it’s a trade off…faster speed but for shorter distances, OR slower speed, but at much longer distances. Pick one. 700Mhz and 2.5Ghz are no where close, and offer their own advantages and disadvantages, as described earlier.

  6. I think that one of the overlooked benefits of LTE is the 700Mhz band. The Verizon engineers I talked with in September said that the new band will allow them a much greater coverage area. It seems to me if this stuff:

    1. Travels farther and provides more overlap
    2. Is appreciably faster.
    3. and Verizon is first to market with it….

    Then Verizon is putting their money in the right place. I know that a VPN across one of these connections is likely a much more cost effective solution than what I’m forced to use now…..

  7. working for Verizon, and seeing what they’re focusing on, I think the infastructure of the LTE will take off faster than most would expect. You know they’re going to tap into the already massive Fios (Although not up and running yet everywhere they’ve had everyone pulling overtime since last summer installing it). And as tswitz said “VZ is getting fiber from whomever they can.” This is the best chance for the US to pull ahead!

  8. Umm, they never said they were going to deploy it next year.
    “We expect that LTE will actually be in service somewhere here in the U.S. probably this time next year.”

    That just means they expect someone to deploy it next year. I contacted Verizon to see if this indicated a shift or acceleration of their time frame and they said no. I think this was the PC mag author taking a quote and running with it.

  9. Doug…VZ is getting fiber from whomever they can. In Akron, OH where I work for another wireless carrier, they are buying fiber off Time Warner for their backhaul. So backhaul might not be the issue but UE’s instead.

  10. Fred Delaney

    VZ does need a reality check. LTE in a service form is at least 4 years away if not more. a) the standards are still getting defined b) Devices (UE) are yet to go mainstream c) needs a complete network infrastructure (evolved packet core) overhaul d) Technology trials have not even begun, some lab versions have been demoed. VZ tried their hand with proprietary IMS as A-IMS, which did not go anywhere either and their timing with LTE strikes a chord with it.

  11. doug, am under no illusions regarding infrastructure needs to support LTE, and am not expecting to be surfing away at “warp speed” soon. to me that is hype. lte is not about speed so much, as it is about lower cost per bit, coverage etc…

    but a couple of quick points why i still think this is excellent news:

    1. from an economy perspective, this is +ve news. shows that the management is trying to do the right thing and investing in key areas, this and fios..
    2. from a consumer point of view, if they are going after the markets where clearwire has launched, that will be a good thing… if clearwire has indeed caused some DSL -> wireless broadband substitution, that is a good thing in my mind..again will be a sign of US catching up…

  12. Don’t celebrate quite yet.

    Do you think the back-end infrastructure required to support LTE (i.e. fiber-speeds to cell towers) is really there?

    We’re talking about a step up from EVDO Rev A speeds, so let’s not break out the bubbly so fast.

    I suspect in competitive markets where Verizon sees Clear (don’t you see the Barry Bonds commercial now?) taking away DSL and wireless customers, LTE will appear. So, we should see Verizon LTE first in Baltimore, DC, Chicago and a couple other cities-to-be-named…

  13. this is indeed good news. the other interesting news today was LG developing an independent LTE chipset. so hopefully this will be real and finally with 4G (WiMAX and LTE) the US will be moving ahead of rest of the world.