CTIA 2010: Verizon Ups LTE Launch to 38 Cities
Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam danced around the launch date in his keynote at the CTIA show today. The network, he told the large crowd in attendance, will be launched "very, very shortly."
"We’ll give you a very specific date as we get closer," he said at a press conference after his talk.
The news, as such, is that the network will now go live in more places than the operator had previously revealed: thirty-eight cities "when we flip the switch," McAdam said. Verizon had previously said that it would cover up to 30 cities. (See Verizon Breathing Down Sprint's 4G Neck.)
As expected, these cities will include Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, and San Francisco, as well as places like Nashville; New Orleans; and Oakland and San Jose, Calif. The operator is also promising service in 60 major airports in and out of the metropolitan coverage areas. "We will be covering 110 million pops the day we turn this on," Lowell McAdam stressed at the press conference.
Verizon will follow the debut with other city launches. Detroit "will be ready to launch," McAdam said, noting that the operator is working on some interference issues there. He said they have similar issues in some other yet-to-be announced cities too.
McAdam promised that Verizon will have "half a dozen smartphones and tablets" from major vendors to show off at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. These should be available to consumers in the first half of 2011.
On pricing, McAdam said that there's still a place for unlimited data plans with LTE, but he expects to move to a tiered approach as the market evolves. "We will shift to pay-as-you-use plans over time with a bucket of megabytes, or gigabytes, approach." (See Verizon's LTE: How Much More $$ Than 3G?)
Regarding Verizon's rural LTE spectrum leasing scheme, McAdam said the operator has reached provisional agreements with five carriers who want to use its 700MHz spectrum in the sticks. "There’s 12 more in the pipeline," he added. (See Verizon LTE Plan Not a Rural Slam-Dunk.)
So, the mystery of the actual launch date remains: Both Nov. 15 and a December launch date have been punted as possibilities. LR Mobile heard earlier this month that a December date is actually the expected time. So Verizon may be dragging its "end of the year" deadline right to the wire. (See Verizon Readies '4G' for December.)
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile