Verizon: The King of 4G

4:10 PM -- Verizon Wireless is taking a clear lead in 4G network deployment in the U.S.

The operator is planning to deploy Long Term Evolution (LTE) in 14 more towns and cities on July 21. It is also expanding coverage in Los Angeles and San Diego while completing the deployment in Charleston, W.V.

This puts Verizon in the catbird seat for fast mobile service in the U.S. with 97 4G markets on the map by the end of July. In contrast, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) -- through Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) -- has just over 70, MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) has a handful of cities and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is expecting to launch with five cities later this year.

Realistically, MetroPCS never really had a chance in this race and is generally more concerned with pumping up its 4G profile with no-contract users in select cities anyway.

As I've already noted, Sprint is the carrier that really lost its 4G groove while squabbling with Clearwire and chatting up LightSquared . The operator is likely to announce LTE plans this summer, but it could be a case of too little, too late if Sprint doesn't get a move on.

AT&T is the unknown factor in the race to a mobile broadband future in the U.S. of A. Much depends on how quickly it can transition T-Mobile US Inc. 's spectrum to 4G LTE. An LTE iPhone is likely to punch up the interest in 4G too.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:01:25 PM
re: Verizon: The King of 4G

Being first does not mean that you have won.  Many times before, the first out of the gate was not the winner in the end.  Verizon Wireless had to move to LTE as their 45% owner was paying AT&T and T-Mobile for roaming.  Dual-mode phones were not the answer and never were; it was a stop-gap measure at most.  They also were at a dead-end on their 3G technology; where was Qualcomm and their 4G; that is right UMB that is as dead as it can be as no carrier ever deployed it.  EV-DO was also at the end of the road in terms of speed; Qualcomm was focused on UMB and didn't worry about upgrades to EV-DO.  Look at what the carriers were able to get out of EV-DO revision B compared to what the W-CDMA carriers were and are getting.  Look at the smartphone speed tests for 3G; Verizon was pretty much always dead last.  Sprint was faster (albeit same technology) and AT*T and T-Mobile petty much always the top two.  In many cases, they were far faster than the EV-DO carriers.


AT&T and T-Mobile can afford the waiting game whereas Verizon Wireless could not.  They were just too far behind in terms of speed.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:01:23 PM
re: Verizon: The King of 4G

I still think the netbook and tablet platform make better sense as LTE platforms in terms of battery life although maybe not with a capped bill plan! Nonetheless, even though the battery-life problems were widely known and reported on, the Thunderbolt still sold very respectably for VRZN.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:01:23 PM
re: Verizon: The King of 4G

Re: Being first does not mean that you have won.


For sure, since Sprint claimed to be first with 4G. We could argue that neither WiMax or LTE is actually "4G" but the ITU made that pretty academic anyway.


Re: AT&T and T-Mobile can afford the waiting game whereas Verizon Wireless could not.


Absolutely agree but now the shoe is on the other foot. AT&T will have to integrate T-Mobile, support legacy phones on AWS spectrum and deploy LTE across a couple of different frequencies with dual-frequency 3G and LTE support.

I don't believe any carrier is going to risk a smooth move to VoLTE right out of the gate until it is very well tested in the field, do you?


billsblots 12/5/2012 | 5:01:23 PM
re: Verizon: The King of 4G

The HTC Thunderbolt, up until now the only 4G handset for VZW, is rife with problems and quirks, and they have never deployed the Skype video chat capability they were once advertising.  The Thunderbolt sucks the life out of batteries, and on my daughter's phone it frequently self-shuts down and restarts itself, and (I think the rear-facing) camera fails to work more often than not.  It has other glitches.  Its features are pretty cool, and the screen allows easy reading of txts and social networking updates that are important to active users.  The main camera is pretty good and uploads quickly to FB.

I'm waiting to see the other 4G models VZW is coming out with before I upgrade.  Hopefully they will be a bit more mature than the HTC Thunderbolt was on deployment.  VZW had to rush that one out there as they were behind schedule with their 4G handsets.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:01:22 PM
re: Verizon: The King of 4G

Re: AT&T plans on using the AWS for LTE.


Actually, they plan on using AWS and 700 for LTE. And there's no way I would blandly state "they will not be supporting 3G on AWS for very long." I remember Sprint saying they'd switch off iDEN in a timely fashion too. That was in 2005, it's 2011 and iDEN is still on.


How's AT&T going to switch 33 million T-Mob customers to LTE? The majority of T-Mobile's phones don't work on AT&T's 3G frequencies. Are they  going to bust them down to EDGE? Sounds like fun...


Re: I wouldn't even call Sprint a 4G carrier; it is ClearWire that is the 3G carrier, not Sprint.


Of course you wouldn't, until recently the ITU didn't define LTE as 4G either, but the marketing dollars got into the mix and everything's up as 4G ($G), even HSPA+. As I said, an academic exercise at best now, all that really matters is the average uploads and downloads and how the network performs under load.

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:01:22 PM
re: Verizon: The King of 4G

Actually AT&T plans on using the AWS for LTE.  So they will not be supporting 3G on AWS for very long.


I wouldn't even call Sprint a 4G carrier; it is ClearWire that is the 3G carrier, not Sprint.


AT&T already has 3G on 850 and 1900MHz; not an issue at all.  Verizon had CDMA on both of those bands as well.  Multiple bands is a non-issue.


Ever think that is why AT&T for the most part was waiting?  They are using the same suppliers as Verizon Wireless; so let them by the guinea pig.  It also lets technology mature a bit and so out of the gate it can be done correctly.  Verizon Wireless tested GSM way back when and only did so because they were contractually obligated and when they said as so, Vodafone was less than pleased.  They could have had access to one of the largest global networks out there and they decided to stick with CDMA.  You can see how well that worked out for them; Qualcomm dropped their 4G solution.

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:01:21 PM
re: Verizon: The King of 4G

But the cell equipment is also converged and supports GSM, GPRS, EDGE, IS-95 (CDMA), CDMA2000, UMTS, HSDPA, WiMAX and LTE.  So supporting what is already there is not that big of an issue.  Sure all the tower equipment needs to be replaced, but that needs to be done for LTE anyway.  So offering 42Mbits is not hard at all.  They will also gain 1900MHz spectrum as well; they won’t need as much GSM/DPRS/EDGE capacity and can use most of that spectrum to cover 42MBits service but they will be pushing the enterprise laptop users to get a new USB stick and to get on the LTE bandwagon. 


As for the fiber backhaul; Verizon is a big customer of theirs for the Ethernet service.  Verizon is not the LEC everywhere, so if you are talking fiber backhaul network and Verizon, they don’t own it all.


Fiber has a downside that many have no clue about.  Fiber supports higher speeds and farther distances, but it also adds latency.  Taking serialization and queuing delays out of it, one ms over copper is 160km where on fiber it is 100km.  Since latency is always a topic for discussion in that LTE offers lower latency than say HSDPA.  IPv6 is also in the LTE specs and with the shortage of IP’s looming, isn’t it better to do it right than the wrong way?  Given that I have a dual-stack connection with them; their IPv6 network is a separate network from their IPv4.  I would guess that the IPv6 network might have been the hold-up as speed offerings are slim right now but in Q3 all speeds will be available.  Anything that was Ethernet based and 1Gbps and under was on a hold; probably because they were using those ports for themselves to meet their yearend goal.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:01:21 PM
re: Verizon: The King of 4G

Re: Two years to switch-off.


Willing to bet that deadline will slip. By the time AT&T takes control of T-Mob it will have the opposite problem, the fastest markets with 42 Mbit/s service will be T-Mobile's, so will AT&T be tempted to offer enterprise laptop services and the like in those markets?

Remember, we're talking about the company that said that the majority of its mobile data traffic would be carried on fiber-based backhaul by the end of 2010. Then, early this year, that it will have 65 to 70 percent of its traffic on fiber backhaul by the end of 2011! 

I just don't see them as a fast moving entity.


krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:01:21 PM
re: Verizon: The King of 4G

Chances are, AT&T would use AWS for LTE in two years or less after the T-Mobile deal has been completed.  That would be plenty of time for the existing base to get new phones.


That was Sprint and it is hard to remove the network from service as they continued to sell the service.  How many times did they take the new prepaid customers and put them on the other network and when it was getting full, move to the other network.  Boost was available on both networks; a bit hard to turn the network off.  The Nextel purchase was nothing but an unplanned mess.

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:01:20 PM
re: Verizon: The King of 4G

Learn to read, the name isn't Ian.  Also, just because you are clueless to networking doesn't mean it is a fabrication.


Given a fixed amount of time and excluding serialization and queue delay, transport over copper can travel farther than fiber optics.  It is NOT a fabrication that in 1ms using fiber optic, the light signal will travel 100km.  It is NOT a fabrication that in 1ms that an electrical signal will travel 160km.

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