Optical/IP Networks

Verizon Makes LTE Connection in Boston & Seattle

Verizon Wireless said Friday afternoon that it has completed "successful data calls" at its Long Term Evolution (LTE) test sites in Boston and Seattle.

The data transfers were made over the 700 MHz LTE networks in Verizon's first two major city test sites. Boston and Seattle are expected to be the first two cities that will go live commercially with the pre-4G technology early in 2010. Those cities each now have 10 LTE 4G cell sites up and running on the 700 MHz spectrum. (See Verizon to Complete LTE Network by 2014? and Verizon Wants LTE ASAP.)

Verizon isn't yet talking about the data connection speeds. "Everything is as the team expected... But because this is a very controlled environment we don't want to put a number out on the market yet," says company spokesman, Jeff Nelson.

This has pretty much been Verizon's stance throughout -- it doesn't want to talk about test numbers that might not have much relevance on the real networks. Tests have shown connections at anything between 50 Mbit/s to 8 Mbit/s. (See WiMax & LTE Meet the Real World and Real-World LTE.) The company has been using base stations from Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), in Boston, and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), in Seattle, for the tests. LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) are providing trial devices. Starent Networks Corp. (Nasdaq: STAR) and Nokia Networks are providing additional network equipment.

Verizon also expects to use LTE units from ST-Ericsson , Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) soon. (See Qualcomm LTE Slip Could Mean Data Card Delays .) Verizon is using the LTE 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 8 standard for the calls. Verizon Wireless has plans in place to support 3GPP Release 9 specifications in the future. (See Verizon Unveils LTE Open Device Specs.)

The Boston and Seattle sites will be the first of 30 planned LTE markets for Verizon in 2010. If you need a quick primer on Verizon's LTE plans for 2010 check this Unstrung video interview with Roger Gurnani, senior VP of product development at Verizon Wireless:

The Seattle deployment will be particularly interesting, as it will put Verizon's LTE network in direct competition with Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR)'s mobile WiMax network, which is due to be launched there before the end of 2009. This will put the two wireless broadband technologies in head-to-head competition for what will likely be the first time anywhere in the world. (See Sprint's '4G' Shadow Network.) – Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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