Leading the LTE pack, Verizon doubles data limits


Launching a 4G LTE network across a wide geographic area before rivals is helping Verizon(s vz), according to a report from Informa, which says 63 percent of the world’s current LTE subscriber base are Verizon customers. Informa expects Verizon to have the largest number of LTE subscribers (100 million) until China surpasses it in 2015. But the U.S. carrier isn’t resting on its laurels. It now offers a promotion that doubles the monthly amount of LTE data for smartphones with no extra charge.

Indeed, in the past 11 months, Verizon moved quickly to shore up a competitive advantage. The LTE network launched in December of last year, showed extremely fast speeds, has a number of LTE smartphones available and is on pace to cover more than 185 million Americans by year end. What has that speed to market done for Verizon? Mike Roberts, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media said in an emailed press release:

Verizon has added around 2 to 2.3 million iPhone (s aapl) subscriptions every quarter in 2011, but new LTE subscriptions nearly tripled from 500,000 in 1Q11 to 1.4 million in 3Q11. Looking at a different metric, LTE accounted for 53% of Verizon’s total postpaid net subscriber additions in 3Q11, up from 30% in the second quarter. The bottom line is Verizon is increasing market share, subscriptions and revenues with LTE.

As a result, Verizon may be in a good position to combat AT&T’s (s t) comparable LTE network, which recently launched in five cities and is soon adding more markets. But Verizon’s broader LTE network still faces one challenge that AT&T’s doesn’t: It’s not backwards compatible with the carrier’s 3G technology. In contrast, AT&T doesn’t have the same problem since LTE networks are based upon GSM standards that AT&T has long used.

Perhaps that’s why Verizon is running a desirable promotion right now. With the purchase of any new LTE smartphone, Verizon is doubling the monthly 4G data limit at no extra cost. The $30 plan that gets 2 GB of data now allows for 4 GB; the same doubling applies to Verizon’s 5 GB and 10 GB plans, which are currently $50 and $80 per month respectively.

Not only does this take some of the focus away from AT&T’s new LTE network; it helps address another problem for LTE handset owners. The faster speeds are fantastic, but that means it’s easy to blow through a monthly data cap in a shorter time. Thanks to the aggressive new promotion, the risk of hitting that limit is cut in half.



It’s not a price cut. Verizon is downloading so much content for its own benefit that 2GB is unrealistic. My tests showed about a half of GB were Verizon ads, both direct and third party. Verizon is partnering with Smith Micro on the VZAM (Access Manager) that is supposed to be a QuickLink between 3G and 4G. Instead Smith Micro is downloading its gaming software and linking with Microsoft Windows Live. Also, on LTE with unlimited texts, there will be about a hundred spam texts downloaded from 3G CDMA to 4 LTE gobbling up more allotted GBs.

Sam P

LTE and UMTS are not at all similar technology-wise. IMT-2000 (“CDMA”) and UMTS are much more similar to each other than either is to LTE. What is similar is that LTE was incubated by the same organizations that developed UMTS which probably lead to some similar architecture thinking–despite that, LTE throws away the fundamentally circuit switched architecture that pervades existing major-carrier telephony in favor of a flood of IP packets, so your LTE phone will essentially be VoIP.


It’s high time they eliminated that antiquated 2GB/5GB data cap, yet given the speed of LTE even 20GB is going to be restrictive for some when tethering with a laptop on a daily basis. Also, $80/20GB still doesn’t compete with Verizon’s WiMax rival Clearwire – they give UNLIMITED 4G for a flat $50/month, no contract required.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – for 4G to take off carriers are going to have to go unlimited and price aggressive. No data caps, no contracts, and definitely no triple-digit overage charges. Verizon has been greedily milking consumers with their exorbitant LTE pricing all year – they do so because they don’t really have competition. Doubling that top cap to 20GB is still going to make them profit. But offering an affordable unlimited plan for power users is still missing from their lineup.

Wayne Morgan

Too bad it only applies to upcoming users, and leaves us early adopters in the cold.

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