CTIA 2010: Verizon LTE Gets Friendly

LAS VEGAS -- International CTIA WIRELESS 2010 -- Verizon Wireless says it's ready to start friendly user trials of deployed Long Term Evolution (LTE) markets in the US this summer but isn't saying yet exactly when the new technology will go commercial this year.

Speaking at a press roundtable this morning, Verizon Wireless CTO Tony Melone said the operator is "close to wrapping up" initial trials of LTE in Boston and Seattle. "Next up is friendly user trials in a handful of markets in the summer time-frame."

Verizon has so far said that it will launch 25 to 30 LTE markets by the end of the year. "We're so close to lighting up the network," said Melone, declaring himself as "excited" but tempering that by noting that the operator still has "a lot of work to do."

Chief among that work is ensuring that Verizon's backhaul network, the fiber and microwave linking cellsites to the wired Internet, is up to snuff. To that end, Verizon announced a dozen backhaul partnerships at the show today.

"You're only as fast as the slowest link in the chain," explained Brian Higgins, executive director of the Verizon Wireless LTE Innovation Center. He said the overall aim of the new backhaul partnerships is to get 100-Mbit/s links to the operator's cellsites.

Melone said Verizon is also now working on deploying 700MHz antennas at its cellsites.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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