The Summer of LTE

It's summer 2013: Do you know where your 4G LTE network is? Dan looks at how density will become as important as speed and coverage in the US as video and other mobile multimedia services come to the fore.

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DanJones 8/20/2013 | 10:16:34 AM
Re: After the summer of LTE will we see a winter of discontent? Soon is the winter of our discount tents!


Carrier leeriness around small cells tends to be around how easy and cheap they to integtrate with the macro network no? I thought that was part of the point of the testing.
neil.coleman.actix 8/20/2013 | 6:14:56 AM
After the summer of LTE will we see a winter of discontent? The real significance of LTE is that it enables mobile operators to reduce their cost of delivering new network capacity.   Operators need the headline grabbing data speeds to attract and retain customers as necessary, but LTE alone will fail to deliver as networks become equally as congested as current 3G networks in critical locations.

Densification, as you suggest, will be the next big thing – we're already seeing operators investigating large scale small cell deployments.  The challenge here is effectively targeting these high capacity, low range cells to capture the right traffic from the right subscribers to generate ROI.
@jopocop 8/20/2013 | 1:31:34 AM
Re: LTE handoff Everybody talks about the "tool box" approach for each mobile carrier to figure out how to increase 4G LTE speed and capacity.  I think it can be said that "different strokes for different folks", because each carrier has different spectrum and bandwidth, along with prior infrastructure established in the USA.  Realistically, VZ & T are dividend companies, cash cows, deliver TV and other valued services.  Sprint and TMobile are playing catch up and are  forced to offer deals to keep and/or gain subscribers.  All of the big 4 full nation mobile operators will continue to invest and push for LTE-Advanced, and then someday convert to TDD-LTE that offers greater spectral capacity.  But the jury is in, Americans are mobile and want speed and the best possible content, including live TV and all the popular media entertainment possible, along with enhanced social networking innovations.  
DanJones 8/19/2013 | 7:17:03 PM
Re: LTE handoff Yeah, they're like cheap painters.


Get the coats up quick, then go back and fill in the gaps (eventually).
Sarah Thomas 8/19/2013 | 3:48:51 PM
Re: LTE handoff This goes back to what Dan has covered before -- operators' strategy with LTE roll outs: http://www.lightreading.com/author.asp?section_id=187&doc_id=703418. Sprint, for example, has admitted that it announces a city's LTE availability when it's available at "street level," but it's usually not complete. It goes back later and fills in the gaps. AT&T and Verizon have also reannounced markets they've already turned out once they go back and fill them out. I wonder if that's the case where some of us are?
Liz Greenberg 8/19/2013 | 1:58:53 PM
Re: LTE handoff I'm with you KBode and Sarah,  my AT&T phone spends more time OFF of LTE than on it in any of AT&T's market.  The majority of the time my phone is on 4G sometimes I am lucky enough to be on the LTE network but rarely.  So this may be the Summer of LTE but I can't wait until LTE is no longer seasonally available but rather available all year (couldn't resist).  So higher density small cells may be the answer but either way, if you are going to boast availability then make it actually available the majority of the time!
KBode 8/19/2013 | 1:15:41 PM
Re: LTE handoff Like Sarah I'm struggling a lot with Verizon LTE consistency both in and north of NYC, as well as Seattle (my wife's hearts home where we spend big chunks of our summers), with a lot of 1x and 3G in supposed LTE markets. Granted I've been modding and pushing custom firmware on to my Galaxy S3 a lot and as such haven't been always sure it's entirely the network's fault. 

Running stock these days to make sure, though coverage so far has remained spotty.

On the flip side, I will say their customer support has been fantastic. I've been traveling a lot for work and play, from Montreal to London, to Paris and a cruise in Alaska over the last five months, and getting international data plans added and removed has been totally seamless. That was never the case when on AT&T. Plans wouldn't come off when scheduled, customer support reps would quote incorrect pricing, etc.

On the cruise ship Verizon's international data (200 MB for $25) certainly beat the ship's Wi-Fi rate: 75 cents per minute.
milan03 8/19/2013 | 12:44:21 PM
Re: LTE handoff Great point Dan! Networks need to not only worry about covered pops, but density and capacity.

Verizon is clearly struggling in major metropolitan areas with capactiy, as their 700c layer is stalling under the load and sheer amount of users. Adding density can be one way of tackling this issue, but another way would be adding another layer of LTE in a different Band, like what Verizon is doing. 

That should offload 700c spectrum as well, so the older LTE devices without access to AWS should benefit. That said, adding more density using small cells should still be a priority regardless of whether the carrier is adding a secondary LTE layer or not.
DanJones 8/19/2013 | 12:41:50 PM
Re: Summer of Dan Is there such a thing as nod and twitch model? Because I clearly have the chops and probably the show reel now too. :-)
DanJones 8/19/2013 | 12:40:21 PM
Re: LTE handoff It should be noted that AT&T is adding markets at a fast clip now. They are, since this video was filmed, now at 365 live towns & cities.
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