While the commercials like to say that “America runs on Dunkin”, a more appropriate phrase might be that America runs on 4G. It’s one of the biggest features in our smartphones and as a carrier, Verizon takes LTE very seriously. Verizon was the first of the US carriers to begin building a 4G LTE network and they’ve now become the first to complete a 4G LTE network. The latest LTE market to be switched on, Parkersburg, West Virginia, became Verizon’s 500th LTE market and the last in their initial LTE rollout.
Verizon says that their LTE network now matches up to over 99% of their 3G network, allowing it to reach more than 298 million people. To put that number in perspective, that’s 95% of our entire population. Verizon still holds an unprecedented dominance in the LTE coverage game. But with this 500th LTE market also came some other big news for Verizon. They announced that their VoLTE technology will be ready next year and that they’re working “very aggressively” to get it ready. VoLTE means that rather than having to have separate radios for the different networks that Verizon uses for voice and data, everything can be done over LTE. It also doesn’t require a rollout but instead is turned on at the same time across the entire LTE network.
VoLTE will allow LTE-only phones to be created to work on Verizon, and Verizon says that these phones should be available sometime next year. Our guess is that they will launch alongside the VoLTE network. LTE-only devices will most likely be cheaper, thinner and have better battery life because they need only one cellular radio inside them. Verizon Chief Network Officer, Nicki Palmer, mentioned that in the future when the 3G network is unused, Verizon could repurpose the spectrum for 4G uses. She also mentioned that Verizon has a plan to help network congestion but didn’t go into much detail.
Finally, Verizon talked about LTE-Advanced technology and Palmer said that they would be a leader in the LTE-Advanced market. But she then said that LTE-Advanced is actually more of a collection of enhancements, features, and standards. Nonetheless, Palmer said that Verizon will employ these features and enhancements when they are needed.
This is a massive amount of news coming from Big Red today that’s going to have a big impact on the market in the year to come. We’re excited to see what all they do with VoLTE because there’s a lot of potential with the technology. What do you guys make of the news? Are you excited for VoLTE?