updated 03:45 pm EDT, Wed April 1, 2009
Verizon JILL platform
Verizon executives at CTIA provided additional details regarding the upcoming 4G LTE network, along with a cross-carrier platform known as JILL. Despite the company pushing to get the next-generation technology rolled out before competitors, Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg does not expect the transition to require a significantly higher amount of capital. He claimed the upgrades were "not that expensive," as the company plans to shift investments from the current EV-DO standard to cover a large portion of the 4G conversion.
The carrier expects to test the LTE network in two markets by the end of the year, and reach roughly 100 million subscribers in 2010. The older standard, CDMA, should see continuing operation for at least five to seven years. Seidenberg pointed out that the decision to switch from analog was made in 1999, but the industry is still working on the conversion.
The executives appeared to dodge a question relating to VoIP apps, such as Skype, on the upcoming network. "There are things you can do with Skype, and things you can't do," said Seidenberg. The executives did not disclose if the company would restrict the apps on the 4G network, however.
CEO Lowell McAdam mentioned a cross-carrier platform, JILL, that is designed to bring apps across a number of devices regardless of manufacturer or network. Widgets would be supported at first, with games and more complex programming added soon thereafter. The company is planning a developers' conference sometime during the summer, although further details were not announced at the press conference.
At an earlier keynote, Seidenberg mentioned a certification program that allows manufacturers to create devices that communicate on Verizon's network. Although the company suggests the system will add to device adoption by end-users, most of the current projects involve business or medical products such as inventory tracking devices or tablet charts for doctors.
The executives claimed there was a "pent up demand" for machine-to-machine uses, but a number of consumer devices are in the process. Several e-book readers are in the works, but the company did not divulge additional details.
In response to rumors that the company was working with manufacturers on subsidized netbook deals, McAdam asked a spokesman if they had made any announcements yet. He then declined to provide any more information, but recommended that everyone stay tuned.