Verizon details US LTE launch plans

US carrier Verizon has unveiled plans to launch commercial LTE services in 38 major metropolitan areas, providing coverage for around 110 million Americans by the end of the year. The 4G technology will also be deployed in 60 or so airports nationwide by other key cities.

Speaking at the CTIA conference this week, president and chief operating officer of Verizon, Lowell McAdam, said the operator aims to provide coverage for large sections of the Northeast Corridor, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. as well as Rochester, New York; Miami and south Florida, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and New Orleans as well as Charlotte, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee; Chicagoland, St. Louis, the Twin Cities, Pittsburgh and major cities in Ohio; and major population centres in California as well as Seattle, Phoenix, Denver and Las Vegas.

McAdam said that Verizon’s swathe of 700MHz spectrum makes it capable of quickly deploying a wireless broadband network with excellent coverage nationwide, with the company installing LTE equipment at existing cell sites and switching centres around the US. Initially, Verizon will be targeting enterprise users and businesses as well as individuals, offering workers the ability to work at significantly faster speeds and improved latency as well as giving road warriors added coverage when they travel.

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The operator expects average data rates to be 5 to 12Mbps on the downlink and 2 to 5Mbps on the uplink in real-world, loaded network environments, further suggesting that unlike smaller rival Metro PCS, Verizon will focus on dongles and USB modems for connectivity.

Metro PCS launched LTE in Las Vegas at the end of September, marking the launch of the first LTE network in the US. The carrier also set an industry milestone with the launch of the world’s first LTE handset, the Samsung Craft.

According to Mike Roberts, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, the move signals the shift of mobile networks from 3G to 4G and from a focus on voice to data. Informa forecasts that the US will be the largest LTE market in the world through 2015, growing rapidly to reach 1.5 million subscribers at the end of 2011 and more than 70 million at the end of 2015.


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