In a recent filing to the FCC, Verizon executive director of network strategy Bill Stone expects that without gaining additional spectrum, the nation’s largest wireless carrier may hit capacitive limits on its 4G LTE network bandwidth in some areas by as early as 2013. The filing comes as Verizon is ready to close on a $3.9 million deal to acquire AWS spectrum held by SpectrumCo–a holding company for spectrum owned by cable giants such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, and Bright House Networks.
Verizon’s current spectrum “”will not provide sufficient capacity to meet the growing demand for mobile broadband–4G, in particular–by 2013 in some areas and by 2015 in many more,” Stone writes.
Despite the fact that Verizon’s adoption of 4G LTE technology is up to 60 percent more efficient at handling traffic than its 3G EVDO/CDMA network, Verizon anticipates that the problem will only get worse as more customers switch to advanced smartphones and tablets. Currently, only about 5 percent of Verizon’s customers are on its 4G LTE network, and the carrier is trying to move even more customers to its LTE network through promotions such as offering double the amount of tiered data for the same price as subscribers would normally get.
Our usage projections suggest that traffic on our LTE network will surpass data usage on our EV-DO network in early 2013. By year-end 2015 our LTE data traffic is projected to be 5 times the peak data traffic ever carried on our 3G EV-DO network. The impact of that growth rate compounds, resulting in a more than 20-fold increase in LTE data traffic from year-end 2011 to year-end 2015.
Rival carriers AT&T and T-Mobile USA are re-purposing spectrum from 2G EDGE networks for 4G use, and those carriers are urging subscribers to upgrade devices to a 3G or 4G device. For Verizon, it’s not feasible and that would only solve a temporary problem with bandwidth, capacity, and spectrum. “Transitioning Verizon Wireless’ PCS and cellular spectrum from EV-DO and voice services to LTE is not a realistic alternative to address the significant and pervasive networks constraints we will face over the next few years,” Stone says.
As part of its network strategy, Verizon is looking at even more efficient LTE Advanced technology, adding new cell sites, modifying existing cell sites to handle traffic more efficiently, and deploying AWS spectrum. The carrier is also looking at deploying femtocell devices to customers to help offload traffic on its mobile broadband network. Verizon, however, did not give any timeline for when it would deploy small cell and femtocells in the future.
Via: Fierce Wireless
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