updated 05:40 pm EDT, Thu September 24, 2009
Verizon plans simultaneous 4G launch
The planned launch of 4G data on Verizon's network in 2010 will see the company switch on service in as many areas at possible at the same time, the carrier's chief technical officer Tony Melone said today. He promised IW that the company wouldn't mimic the usual carrier "tease" of introducing faster service one area at a time and instead would launch it "all-at-once." The move would lead to several or more of the 25-30 expected 4G markets being ready on launch day.
A simultaneous release is possible as Verizon's use of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard for 4G will let it put the faster cellular data on top of its existing CDMA/EVDO network sites rather than have to replace them. As a consequence, the provider also won't have to force users to immediately upgrade their phones and other devices to 4G once service is active.
The upgrade will arrive at a critical point for Verizon, as it will be necessary for Verizon to regain its lead in mobile data speeds following the early steps of AT&T's 7.2Mbps 3G upgrade. Where Verizon expects to introduce 4G next year, AT&T doesn't anticipate doing the same until 2011 and will hand Verizon a temporary lead.
LTE is considered the direct successor to HSPA 3G and has a theoretical speed of 100Mbps downstream, or nearly 14 times faster than AT&T's just-begun upgrade. Verizon has commented in the past that real-world speeds on a busy, more distant network should be closer to 12Mbps.