CTO Tony Melone revealed a few more details concerning the company's plans for deploying its next-generation 4G
network based on the LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard. According to Melone, the rollout will take place on a large scale, rather than in a traditional market-by-market rollout over the course of a few years.
As Melone put it, the rollout "will be as close to all-at-once as possible." Melone also noted that the company is on schedule with its plans to deliver LTE
wireless technology. "We want to give our customers a significant footprint," and won't "tease," them he said, with trial deployments.
Verizon's first LTE rollouts are slated for next year. Although specific dates regarding the company's nationwide deployment have not been given, Verizon has pledged it will happen in 2010 in 25 to 30 markets. The company hopes to have the service available for some 100 million points of presence in 2010 and will continue to deploy the network over the next two to three years. Verizon Wireless has already launched trial sites
for LTE in Boston and Seattle.
Considering it's been years since Verizon first started rolling out 3G coverage across the country, a large-scale rollout of 4G services is definitely a big deal. The rollout will be costly, but Verizon Wireless is likely feeling pressure from its customers who are using a lot of data bandwidth and from its competitors such as Sprint
who have already rolled out 4G services. Verizon Wireless will be among the first in the U.S. to roll out LTE. The good news for Verizon is that the technology can be laid on top of its current network, and much of the company's existing infrastructure, including towers and backhaul, will likely be used.
Phones won't be the only devices that will take advantage of the new network. Non-traditional devices such as the IREX Technologies e-book reader
, GM's OnStar auto security solution, and court-ordered electronic bracelets will also utilize the network. According to Melone, Verizon has certified more than 55 devices to operate on its 3G network and they will be available for use with the LTE network.
For customers who don't want to adopt LTE right away, Melone said there won't be a need to force people to migrate since Verizon Wireless will allow users to continue to use their current devices after LTE launches. Of course, if you want to take full advantage of LTE, you will need a new device.