Verizon Beefs Up LTE Network, Nears VoLTE

Verizon says its priorities for the fourth quarter include augmenting its LTE network in major cities and launching its first VoLTE handset ahead of the network launch.

Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms

October 17, 2013

2 Min Read
Verizon Beefs Up LTE Network, Nears VoLTE

Coming off a solid quarter in which it added 1.1 million customers, Verizon Wireless is turning its attention toward augmenting its 4G LTE network as well as launching its first voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) handset in the fourth quarter.

Speaking on the carrier's third-quarter earnings call, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) CFO Fran Shammo played down the speeds of LTE, noting that those only matter when the network is unloaded, instead choosing to talk up what Verizon Wireless is doing to bolster its network in major urban markets like New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.

This work has already started in NYC where the carrier is upgrading its LTE network to 2x20 Mhz channels. (See: Verizon Deploying Fatter 4G Pipes in NYC.)

"We're building the network for a consistent, reliable experience," he said. "Our network engineers designed the network for when it's fully loaded."

With 38 percent of its customers on the 4G network generating 64 percent of data usage, Shammo said it's getting to that point. Right now Verizon's main focus is on deploying its AWS spectrum, but it also plans to reappropriate its 3G spectrum for LTE. Shammo said Verizon's spectrum position is solid for three to four years, but it plans to get in on future auctions as well.

In addition, the CFO said Verizon is being proactive on in-building coverage and densification of cell sites. The work started in the third quarter, he said, but begins in earnest in the fourth.

With 500 markets covered with LTE reaching 97 percent of the US population, or 303 million people, Verizon is now 99 percent done matching its 3G network footprint. Coverage was the key for it to launch VoLTE. Shammo reiterated that Verizon wouldn't start offering 4G voice until it was very similar to what its customers expect from a 3G CDMA call. "It's an unbelievable network," he said of Verizon 3G, and that's why it's taking so long on VoLTE.

"You'll probably see us have a VoLTE capable handset in the fourth quarter and will light up the VoLTE rollout in the first half of next year," Shammo said, echoing the timeline the operator has stated several times in the past. (See: Verizon Preps Network, Waits on Marketing Nod for VoLTE, Verizon Promises Voice-Over-LTE in 2014, and Shades of VoLTE.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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