Fatter pipes for faster 4G in the US is likely to be one of the stories of 2014 for many operators, but it appears that Verizon is getting a head start on the updates in NYC.
Local mobile speed and spectrum spotter -- milan03 -- alerted Light Reading that "Verizon's 2x20Mhz LTE is already popping up in NYC in various midtown locations."
Here's a speed test he took, showing the upload and download bandwidth at 20MHz each respectively. Verizon Wireless started its LTE deployment with 2X10MHz channels:
So why does this matter to the average user?
Well, fatter channels for upload and download are one of the simplest ways for carriers to add speed and capacity to their networks and often don't even require users to upgrade their devices to feel the benefits, although as operators aggregate more disparate frequencies this could change.
As you can see from the speed test, 2x20MHz channels blaze past 2x10MHz channels, with 80 Mbit/s or more on the download and 15 Mbit/s to 20 Mbit/s on the upload. Verizon's best currently deployed markets are getting in the region of 18 Mbit/s top average speeds.
Of course, once the 2x20MHz sites come into regular use, they will also get loaded up and slow down. Nonetheless, users should see a significant uplift from existing 4G LTE networks.
This is why major US operators are looking towards upgrades to 2x20MHz over the next year or so. The upgrades, however, will once again highlight the spectrum haves and have-nots in the US markets as smaller regional operators will likely struggle to get the spectrum required for wider channels.
- RootMetrics: Faster 4G LTE Coming Soon
- T-Mobile Eyes Fatter Pipes for 4G LTE
- Size Matters for LTE, Verizon CTO Says
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading