Verizon Wireless Confirms Broad U.S. LTE Rollout for 2010

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-10-06

Verizon Wireless Confirms Broad U.S. LTE Rollout for 2010

Verizon President Lowell McAdam revealed the details of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE rollout for 2010 at a CTIA press conference in San Francisco today. McAdam noted that the initial deployment of LTE will take place in 38 cities, which is an increase from the previously announced 30 cities. 

He also said LTE will come to 60 commercial airports, including airports in cities that aren't getting LTE this early. Verizon released a complete list of cities and airports to receive LTE service. 

In addition, McAdam said that more cities could be added to the list soon, including West Lafayette, Ind., home of Purdue University, which is building a digital campus. Detroit could also become part of the rollout, but according to McAdam, Verizon Wireless needs to iron out some issues with cross-border interference because of its proximity with Windsor, Ontario. 

When Verizon Wireless previously had announced that 30 cities would get LTE, there was considerable speculation as to which cities those might be. However, with the added list of locations, virtually every major metropolitan area in the United States is getting LTE this year. And the list of airports that will get LTE goes significantly beyond the 38 cities to cover most of the major commercial airline hubs in the country. 

McAdam declined to be specific about which devices will be the first to appear with Verizon Wireless' LTE, except to say that the first products this year will be USB Aircards. The smartphones and tablets that are planned for 4G service will come from "mainstream manufacturers," he said. But he would not confirm whether a number of devices, about which there is intense speculation including the iPhone and iPad, would be among them. He said that this announcement will come during CES in January. 

Earlier today a story in the Wall Street Journal reported that the iPhone 4 is being readied for a January 2011 release. While not confirming the report, McAdam did say, however, that LTE would be a great reason for Apple to want its devices to be on the Verizon Wireless network, pointing to the high speeds and low latency on the network. McAdam said users can expect 5M- to 12M-bps download speeds and 2M- to 5M-bps upload speeds. He also said that initially voice communications will use Verizon Wireless' 3G network. 

LTE Service to Bolster Wireless Cloud Computing


Verizon Wireless customers can expect the company to move to some sort of tiered pricing structure as data use increases, according to McAdam. The details of any such tiered pricing haven't been determined yet, he said. 

In two related areas, McAdam said Verizon Wireless has already begun working with rural wireless providers on a plan to lease spectrum space for LTE and to set up roaming arrangements so that customers of the rural companies can use the Verizon Wireless network, giving Verizon Wireless customers access to these rural networks. He said this will bring LTE to rural areas much faster than would happen otherwise. 

Verizon Wireless also made an announcement that new LTE machine-to-machine devices will be available very early in the process. Verizon has repeatedly pointed out that LTE is well-suited for M2M communications due to its low latency. 

Bryan Schromsky, manager of technical solutions for Verizon Wireless' government sector, said the new LTE service will give better performance in a number of areas, especially in building penetration. He said it opens new opportunities for telework and other green initiatives. The growth of LTE will change the face of wireless, Schromsky said. 

"When you used to think of one-to-one with people to devices, now think one-to-many," he said. With the new high speeds and low latency, new applications including cloud computing will become part of the wireless landscape, Schromsky said. LTE also lays down a new foundation for machine-to-machine communications because of its data transmission characteristics, he said. 

Ultimately, data transmission will be the focus of the Verizon LTE network. McAdam said the service is ideal for video and that some of the first devices to be announced at CES will include platforms for both uploading and downloading video. Furthermore, he said he expects video use to be a significant factor in the use of LTE, but declined to address any details about plans for video applications. Verizon Wireless already provides a broad selection of video services for its existing 3G devices.

While the list of Verizon Wireless devices for LTE remains under wraps, McAdam did say the devices will be able to handle voice and data simultaneously. Currently, Samsung makes an LTE phone for MetroPCS, and while this device could certainly be converted to work on the Verizon network, it's not clear that the Samsung phone is one of those that will be chosen by Verizon Wireless. 

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