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4G/3G/WiFi

4G World 2011: Who Can Match Verizon's LTE Footprint?

7:30 AM -- The big question Light Reading Mobile will be asking at 4G World in Chicago this week will be how other carriers can compete with Verizon Wireless , now that the New Jersey-based operator has clearly established the largest Long Term Evolution (LTE) footprint in the U.S.

Verizon now has LTE in 165 markets covering more than 186 million people. It expects to have the 4G service up and running in 178 towns and cities by the end of the year and have its deployment completed by 2013. (See Verizon Sells 1.4M LTE Devices in Q3.)

By comparison, its major rival, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), has launched LTE in five markets now and expects to have it in 15 cities by the end of the year. For at least a couple of years, AT&T's answer to Verizon's LTE footprint will be that its devices can fall back to faster high-speed packet access-plus (HSPA+) across its 3G footprint. (See AT&T Building Islands of LTE in 2011.)

AT&T clearly sees its merger with T-Mobile US Inc. as the eventual answer to nationwide coverage but -- if the U.S. Department of Justice allows that to happen -- it will still require a lot of LTE deployment for Ma Bell to match Verizon's footprint. (See AT&T: Expect More 4G from T-Mobile Buy.)

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) may currently be Verizon's closest rival for next-generation wireless services. The operator has WiMax services in 71 cities, covering 120 million people, through its partner, Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR). That work has now stopped, however, as Clearwire scratches around for US$600 million to deploy an LTE overlay on its existing network. (See Sprint Network Vision and 4G LTE Plans Should Integrate with Clearwire .)

So, Sprint is going it alone with an "aggressive" deployment of LTE in its current CDMA frequencies. The operator hopes to cover 250 million people with its LTE deployment by the end of 2013. (See Sprint to Launch LTE by Mid-2012.)

Sprint also hopes to use LightSquared L-Band spectrum for LTE capacity later on. Of course, LightSquared has to get over its little problem with GPS. It goes without saying that we'll be talking to operators and vendors about shrinking 4G infrastructure, signaling, chips and a bunch of other stuff too in Chicago. But it seems worthwhile to use this show to take stock of where we're at with next-generation network deployments right now.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:50:41 PM
re: 4G World 2011: Who Can Match Verizon's LTE Footprint?

I'd like to see Verizon spell out just exactly how much of each market it claims is really "covered." Is it 50 percent? 75 percent? Interesting to note that when they announce a slew of new cities there are always some additional notes about "adding more coverage" in places like San Francisco.


Or, how about releasing the stats from those drive tests that everyone likes to ride along on? If the network is really the biggest and best, why not?

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:50:41 PM
re: 4G World 2011: Who Can Match Verizon's LTE Footprint?

I'd like to see Verizon spell out just exactly how much of each market it claims is really "covered." Is it 50 percent? 75 percent? Interesting to note that when they announce a slew of new cities there are always some additional notes about "adding more coverage" in places like San Francisco.


Or, how about releasing the stats from those drive tests that everyone likes to ride along on? If the network is really the biggest and best, why not?

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:50:40 PM
re: 4G World 2011: Who Can Match Verizon's LTE Footprint?

At the very least it's up to folks like us to keep asking the questions. And to press the carriers whenever we can for more information, like Clearwire's lone decision to show actual tower placements on its coverage maps.


I don't think it should be on the users to chart their own problems; that's the kind of thinking that the carriers and their cowed/bought regulator overseers recommend. "Here's an incomplete broadband map, tell us if you have any problems!" It'd be better if the carriers had to be more honest with the service they are providing. But they sure aren't going to do it by themselves.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:50:40 PM
re: 4G World 2011: Who Can Match Verizon's LTE Footprint?

At the very least it's up to folks like us to keep asking the questions. And to press the carriers whenever we can for more information, like Clearwire's lone decision to show actual tower placements on its coverage maps.


I don't think it should be on the users to chart their own problems; that's the kind of thinking that the carriers and their cowed/bought regulator overseers recommend. "Here's an incomplete broadband map, tell us if you have any problems!" It'd be better if the carriers had to be more honest with the service they are providing. But they sure aren't going to do it by themselves.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:50:40 PM
re: 4G World 2011: Who Can Match Verizon's LTE Footprint?

I agree it shouldn't be down to users to chart their own problems. But its in their interest to alert media etc, if outages are happening and let's face it, Twitter and other social media alerts often give an indication of problems long before the carriers will cop to a problem.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:50:40 PM
re: 4G World 2011: Who Can Match Verizon's LTE Footprint?

Yeah that'd be cool, I'd also like the moon on a stick. Ain't no way Verizon is going to release drive tests or give too much detail on %age covered. Just like Clearwire hasn't released that data or AT&T won't with the HSPA+ coverage of its almost entire (maybe ) network.


 


It's up to readers and us to try and find the holes. Anyone's free to write in here if they're finding big holes in their LTE service.


 


 

jdbower 12/5/2012 | 4:50:38 PM
re: 4G World 2011: Who Can Match Verizon's LTE Footprint?

There's an app for that!


Just picking one at random, Open Signal Maps has an Android app which reports on carrier performance to get crowd-sourced data on actual coverage.  Obviously a single data point is mostly meaningless as it could be an issue with the phone or some other transient issue but it's a nice concept.


http://opensignalmaps.com/


 

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