Verizon Wireless is planning on a massive network upgrade in 2012 to bring its fast 4G LTE network to more Americans. The service, which was launched with new smartphones and devices at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show, is now available in over 200 markets in the U.S., outpacing LTE coverage by AT&T and Sprint, the latter of which is just beginning its transition from 4G WiMax to 4G LTE technology. However, Verizon is planning on doubling its coverage, and the carrier intends on adding another 200 new markets to cover, serving a total of approximately 400 markets by the end of the year.
Additionally, the carrier is making its transition to only announcing new smartphones with 4G LTE–gone are the days of budget 3G smartphones and 4G devices are beginning to become more affordable. This hints at a 4G LTE capable new iPhone to be announced later this year.
Verizon’s announcement of future network upgrades come just ahead of Friday’s consumer availability of the new iPad, which boasts 4G connectivity support for Verizon’s own network as well as rival AT&T’s LTE network. With AT&T offering LTE in only about 20 markets, Verizon is definitely positioning itself more favorably to iPad and future 4G iPhone owners.
In the past, with 3G technology, AT&T held a lead over Verizon as 3G offered simultaneous voice and data support so you can talk and surf at the same time, and AT&T’s implementation of HSPA/HSPA+ for 3G technology offered faster speeds than Verizon’s EVDO network. Given that LTE is now the benchmark, a lot of AT&T’s lead may be eroded, especially with Verizon’s more widely available network, allowing users to access 4G when they travel to most major cosmopolitan cities.
The service is being advertised as offering speeds up to ten times 3G speeds. 4G LTE can deliver, both in real-world network performance and per Verizon’s marketing claims, downlink speeds of between 5-12 Mbps and uplink speeds between 2-5 Mbps.
Yet, despite a massive push in the last year or so, a previous report indicated that as little as 5 percent of Verizon’s total subscribers are on the carrier’s 4G network.
Upgrading its network to 4G will definitely help the bandwidth- and spectrum-constrained carrier as LTE is a lot more efficient at handling data than previous technologies.
For users who travel a lot domestically, coverage maps may entice them to Verizon’s network, and Verizon is aggressively expanding its 4G LTE coverage footprint when others are barely getting started. AT&T has recently begun to migrate from 4G HSPA+ technology to faster 4G LTE coverage, and Sprint is now starting to do so. T-Mobile has only announced plans to make the migration from its HSPA+ network to LTE.
Via: Wall Street Journal
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