Verizon 4G Is Now 50% Faster in 461 Cities

Verizon rolled out a major update to its 4G network Monday, launching LTE-Advanced across 461 cities in the US, which could mean data downloads up to 50% faster for customers with compatible smartphones.

Verizon describes the launch as covering cities coast to coast, blanketing over 90% of the US population. The map below shows Verizon's 4G LTE coverage in red and the cities freshly minted with LTE-Advanced in white.

Source: Verizon
Source: Verizon

So what is LTE-Advanced? The update to 4G was first solidified in the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 's Release 10 of the LTE specification on April 11. It uses bonded disparate radio channels -- a.k.a. carrier aggregation -- and at least 2x2 antenna arrays (MIMO) to get more speed out of the network. (See Why You Should Care About LTE-Advanced (Eventually).)

Verizon shows its 4G network topping out at 30 Mbit/s, while LTE-Advanced races to over 100 Mbit/s on downloads in the video below. As wireless is a shared medium and is influenced by factors like proximity to the cellsite, results may vary widely!

Verizon says it is using a mixture of two-channel and three-channel carrier aggregation on its network. In theory, two-band aggregation could deliver peak speeds of over 200 Mbit/s.

Verizon says that LTE-Advanced will work with 39 phones and tablets on day one, although customers may need to upgrade to the latest software to get the speed bump. Devices include the latest iPhone, the Galaxy S7 and Note 7 and the Moto Droid.

Want to know more about 4G LTE? Check out our 4G LTE channel here on Light Reading.

Verizon's LTE-Advanced announcement somewhat deflects attention from Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s 3-band carrier aggregation (3CA) demo in Chicago on Monday (more on that later!). Although, in point of fact, all the major operators in the US are looking to deploy 2CA, 3CA and denser MIMO in their LTE networks. This is because -- despite the interest in 5G -- 4G LTE and subsequent upgrades will remain the fastest way to go mobile for the immediate future. (See Verizon Updates 5G Spec, Could Launch Ahead of 3GPP, Ericsson's 'Gigabit LTE' Will Benefit Current Smartphone Users Too, Sprint Plots Ramped-Up LTE and T-Mobile's Unlimited Plans Aim at the Big Two.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

kq4ym 9/9/2016 | 11:34:01 AM
Re: Any reports out in the wild With the premise of "covering cities coast to coast, blanketing over 90% of the US population," this should be a boon to Verizon's marketing folks. But as mentioned the resulta are going to vary depending on distance from cell sites, etc. but overall this has to be nothing but good for Verizon and it's customers.
Gabriel Brown 8/31/2016 | 9:25:49 AM
Re: Any reports out in the wild For reference, I just ran a speed test on Vodafone UK in London (indoor, at my desk, using the Opensignal app on a Nexus 5X):

30ms ping

72 Mbit/s down

13 Mbit/s up

Not too shabby.
Joe Stanganelli 8/30/2016 | 10:04:24 PM
Re: Any reports out in the wild Yep.  Reminds me of a few years ago when my SP was told me I'd be getting 15 Mbps and I'd be lucky to get 8/2.
DanJones 8/29/2016 | 6:30:13 PM
Re: Any reports out in the wild Yeah that's the difference between bonding 2 radio channels and 3 radio channels, as well as antenna arrays, etc. I believe 2CA can top out at 225-Mbit/s and 3CA can get up to 300-MBit/s, maybe more. That's fine for demos and whatnot. When this gets out in the real world we'll see what the actual averages turn out like.

Still plenty of mileage left in LTE though, even if Verizon might run short on bandwidth.
TeleWRTRLiz 8/29/2016 | 6:19:32 PM
Re: Any reports out in the wild Sprint's demo hit 240 Mbps download today...
DanJones 8/29/2016 | 4:25:06 PM
Any reports out in the wild Would be interested to hear any data speed tests if you have a compatible device. Thnx! DJ
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