updated 06:45 pm EST, Mon March 5, 2012
Demand for mobile data will outpace build out
Verizon could begin hitting capacity limits for its LTE network in some major markets as soon as next year, and many more by the end of 2015. The wireless services provider made this revelation in its comments to the FCC in support of its plan to buy $3.9 billion of spectrum from a consortium of cable network owners, and another $315 million from Cox (PDF). Verizon added that it plans to deploy femtocells and small cells to help relieve some of its bandwidth pressure.
The comments were made by Verizon's Bill Stone, Verizon's executive director of network strategy, in his response to objections by T-Mobile and others to his company's proposed acquisition of the bandwidth. The demand is being fueled by the almost exponential growth in mobile data, which, according to government and industry experts, will be 25 to 50 times greater in 2015 than it was in 2010. It will also be exacerbated by the rapid adoption of smartphones, which burn up to 35x the bandwidth as traditional mobile phones. Tablets are an even greater drain on wireless data network capacity. These can consume up to 120 times the bandwidth used by regular cellphones.
Stone indicated that Verizon aggressively plans to deploy capacity-enhancing technologies including small cells and femtocells in an effort to dull the capacity crunch. He gave no public indication as to the timing and extent of the deployment. He did state, however, that even with these and other technological advancements, Verizon's investments in network infrastructure would reportedly not be adequate "to keep pace with the projected mobile data demand in years 2013 to 2015 and beyond." [via and via FierceWireless]