Verizon Gearing Up for LTE-Advanced Services?

A TBR analyst says Verizon will start to deploy LTE-Advanced features on its 4G network in the US by the end of this year.

"Verizon Wireless is investing in LTE by expanding its LTE network over its AWS spectrum and will launch its LTE-Advanced services in 4Q13," Eric Costa, an analyst for Technology Business Research Inc. (TBR) , wrote in a report.

LTE-Advanced is a specification laid down by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) in release 10 of the 4G specification. It includes features like bonding radio channels (carrier aggregation) and multiple antenna arrays (MIMO) to raise network capacity and support more active users. Carriers are planning to start deploying some LTE-A features to start advanced services. (See: Why You Should Care About LTE-Advanced (Eventually).)

Light Reading checked in with Verizon on Monday afternoon to see what the operator had to say about LTE-Advanced plans. "LTE-Advanced is a set of features that comes along with the 4G LTE standards, and we are currently preparing these features for our network," a spokesman told us in an email. "We've made no announcements about timing."

Verizon CTO Nicola Palmer has previously said the operator wants to lead on LTE-Advanced. "We're excited about the carrier aggregation feature of LTE-Advanced that allows us to take our 700 MHz and AWS spectrum assets and make them seamlessly operate together and appear as one to devices and to customers," Palmer said in July.

Verizon has been building LTE on the AWS (1,700/2,100MHz)spectrum this year. "In most major markets, we have activated 4G LTE service on our AWS spectrum including New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago [and] Boston," the spokesman told us. (See: Verizon Fires Up AWS Support.)

"This deployment in some cases triples network capacity," he said. "An ever increasing number of devices can take advantage of this spectrum; we expect that 20 percent of our 4G LTE devices by year's end will be capable of taking advantage of service on our AWS spectrum."

Thus, bounding radio channels -- a.k.a. carrier aggregation -- so that devices can ride across both frequencies would likely make most sense as the first LTE-Advanced feature for Verizon to deploy.

Verizon has also been launching double-wide 2x20MHz channels on the AWS spectrum in major markets. These moves and LTE-Advanced features -- when they arrive -- should boost the speed of the Verizon network.

The carrier isn't bragging about any speed boosts yet. "Consistently reliable 4G LTE service is our design intent," the spokesman said in his email. "We aim to provide our customers with 5-12 Mbps downlink and 2-5 Mbps uplink speeds each time they access the 4G LTE network -- regardless of where they are, and what time it is."

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

DanJones 12/31/2013 | 3:52:11 PM
The real 4G IEE Spectrum is calling LTE-Advanced the "real 4G," which it is, by specification, if any carrier could get enough spectrum together to offer 5x20MHz channels and 100Gbit/s when moving.


Source: http://spectrum.ieee.org/telecom/standards/lte-advanced-is-the-real-4g

What say you, readers?
DanJones 12/27/2013 | 4:50:40 PM
SK Telecom Obvioulsy worth watching SK telecom for clues on where LTE-Advanced services might go:

DanJones 12/26/2013 | 7:27:10 PM
Re: 20Mhz NYC More good info, thanks.
DanJones 12/26/2013 | 7:27:09 PM
Re: 20Mhz NYC More good info, thanks.
milan03 12/26/2013 | 5:50:12 PM
Re: 20Mhz NYC I am seeing VoLTE hidden engineering menu on my Verizon variant of Note 3, which indicates that the device is VoLTE ready, and Verizon's been testing it for a while. Still not user accessible until they flip the switch I guess. But that's not really LTE-A tool from the toolbox anyway...

DanJones 12/26/2013 | 5:39:13 PM
Re: 20Mhz NYC Interesting, thanks!
milan03 12/26/2013 | 5:30:57 PM
Re: 20Mhz NYC Yeah I assume they'll add more capacity in the following months, but in NYC you always have a lot of users regardless of the Band.

Another reason why I don't think they'll go with CA right away is the UE capability. Current Cat 4 UE can aggreggate only two 10Mhz component carriers, which means that Verizon would actually have to downgrade their existing 20Mhz AWS deployments to 10Mhz in order for UE to achieve what's already available in the 20Mhz AWS spectrum deployments around the country.

Next year, Cat 6 UE will allow two 20Mhz component carriers or 20+10, 15+10, etc...
DanJones 12/26/2013 | 5:12:20 PM
Re: 20Mhz NYC Could they be worried about backhaul capacity when they get more 2x20Mhz users online?
milan03 12/24/2013 | 2:09:40 PM
20Mhz NYC I've been seeing 20Mhz in NYC since October, and their cell sites which are fiber fed seem to have backhaul service provisioned for 150Mbps which is then pooled between 700Mhz and AWS layers. 700Mhz has ~70Mbps allocated which is sufficient for 10Mhz FDD channel, which leaves ~80Mbps for AWS which is deifnitely insufficient for 20Mhz FDD downlink channel capable of 150Mbps... So the AWS peak throughput has been limited by the backhaul at 80Mbps.

But recently I've discovered a site on 11th ave and 53rd street which seems to be provisioned for a slightly bit more bandwidth, but still capped at 100Mbps on the AWS. Using Cat 4 UE capable of 150Mbps clearly shows the backhaul being a bottleneck: http://www.youtube.com/my_videos?o=U

I'm thinking Verizon is not necessarily looking into CA for this year, more likely eICIC. We know eMBMS which is Rel 9 feature is happening during the superbowl.
DOShea 12/23/2013 | 11:44:01 PM
What's the rush? Is there some value for Verizon if it squeezes this in before the end of the year, just to say they did so in 2013?
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