Verizon is leading the race to double-sized 4G pipes in the US, and it could stay in the lead for some time, early indications show.
The 2x20MHz channels from Verizon Wireless have already started to be spotted in New York City. Verizon is using AWS (band 4) LTE spectrum for its fatter channels. It initially deplyed 2x10MHz channels in the 700MHz C-Block. (See Verizon Deploying Fatter 4G Pipes in NYC.)
Resident spectrum 'n' speeds spotter milan03 has seen 2x20MHz Verizon test sites pop up around Times Square, Bryant Park, Columbus Circle, 57th and 7th Ave, Central Park West between 59th and 67th Street, and 3rd Avenue between 50th and 60th Street.
Verizon has said that it is bolstering its network in major urban markets such as New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. On the company's recent earnings call CFO Fran Shammo stressed that the carrier is updating for "a consistent, reliable experience," not just extra speed. (See Verizon Beefs Up LTE Network, Nears VoLTE.)
Faster uploads and downloads will, however, be one of the effects of the LTE updates. But Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics , expects speeds to go down again as the network gets loaded up. He writes in an email to Light Reading:
- Based on current category-3 devices, the theoretical maximum for a 20 x 20 configuration is 100 Mbps, so seeing a 75-80 Mbps throughput isn't surprising for an initial launch. Keep in mind, though, that these speeds will decrease as load increases. Over time, speeds will most likely come back inline with the speeds we've typically seen from Verizon (approximately 14 Mbps for download and 8 Mbps for upload). In that sense, Verizon's AWS rollout is more about increasing capacity than increasing peak speed. Of course, this is based on what we've seen in the past. We won't know for sure until we're able to measure performance under real-world conditions. We'll let you know what we find.
So what are the other major carriers in the US doing with 2x20MHz channels?
A spokeswoman for Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) said the carrier hasn't "announced any timeline" for carrier aggregation or wider channels yet.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) hasn't answered questions on wider channels yet. We'll update you when it does.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading