Feb 28 AT 2:18 PM Edgar Cervantes 33 Comments

Only 5% of Verizon’s customers use 4G LTE; number to increase substantially this year


Despite the carrier’s efforts and major LTE network rollout, only 5% of the Verizon customer pool is taking advantage of the blazing speeds, says the company. This comes as a disappointment, but Big Red has committed to a 4G-only smartphone selection in 2012. And that number is sure to increase soon.

Verizon Wireless was the first US carrier to bring 4G LTE’s blazing speeds to Americans. With the anniversary taking place last December, the carrier has taken over most of the country. Surely, you have seen all the new markets being added continuously, and Big Red’s 4G LTE territory now covers over 200 million citizens.

Also, Verizon claims that all 3G markets will be covered by 4G LTE by 2013. This means that pretty much the whole country will run on these faster, more efficient (for the carrier) data speeds. Verizon has a clear advantage over all the other carriers, at least in regards to 4G LTE. But that does not mean the competition won’t be fierce as other carriers start deploying their own LTE networks.

This is why the company is trying to invest in 4G LTE for a world free of 3G speeds. The older network received a big enhancement last year, right before the release of the almighty iPhone (which does not have 4G capabilities). But Verizon is no longer interested in investing more resources in said network.

It is very critical for us, and we’re playing a very delicate balancing act here that I don’t want to spend any more money on my 3G networkFran ShammoChief fFinancial Officer of Verizon Communications Inc.

As small as 5% sounds it is a rather large number, adding up to 4.4 million users. This is out of the 87.4 contracted customers that signed up in 2011. But as mentioned above, Verizon is planning to release only 4G LTE smartphones from now on, so we are surely in a transition. Soon, all smartphone customers will be signing up for LTE blazing speeds.

As a 4G LTE customer, I must say that it is a great service, but the experience hasn’t been perfect. We sure hope all of these 4G LTE drops are resolved. For the same reason, it is unclear if Verizon is ready for a country-wide LTE explosion just yet.

Shammo also mentions that Verizon is planning to invest $3.9 billion in spectrum from cable companies. This might improve everything, but we still have to see if the purchase is approved. Smaller (and not-so-smaller) carriers like T-Mobile and MetroPCS are trying to stop it.

Here comes 2012 and 2013, guys. And some major changes are taking place in the mobile industry. Let’s see how things work out in the near future and pray that all these new 4G LTE customers don’t overload the towers too much. Is your next device going to be a 4G LTE smartphone? Would you rather keep things retro and stay with 3G speeds?

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

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  • txbluesman

    No wonder their network keeps going down. Lol.

  • Jeff Pan

    I am pretty sure the number would go up by end 2012

  • oddball

    My next phone will be on Verizon’s LTE network but the lack of reliability has caused me to wait for the next generation of phones. Until I stop hearing about monthly nationwide crashes, phones being locked out of all data because of verification errors, and getting less than 8 hours out of average use an LTE phone is a novelty not a useful device.

    • Edgar Cervantes

      The network will probably keep having a few hiccups. LTE devices are starting to get much better at handling battery, life, though. Of course, the first example is the RAZR Maxx. But most people that use the Galaxy Nexus also claim to have great battery life.

      • Slith

        My Nexus sure doesn’t exhibit great battery life on 4G. It is nearly two hours less than when I am home in 3G territory.

      • epps720

        I have a G-Nex w/an extended battery and the battery life is horrible on 4G. I turn off my 4G b/c having my phone last through most of the day is more important to me.

    • thekaz

      yeah, I have found the outages to be only a minor inconvenience. I suppose, in theory, my GNEX should just failover to 3G, but it never does. The outages usually don’t last long, and usually are during the day while I am at work.

      They definitely seem to be less frequent.

      And while the battery life is somewhat annoying, I do get more than 8 hrs of average use out of it. I usually don’t have to recharge until I get home from work.

  • Dave Clary

    I anxiously awaiting LTE but after seven years of TMo and Sprint, I am really pleased with their 3G service. I still have five phones on Sprint, but I may jump them to VZW depending on each company’s LTE rollout.

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    I’m was somewhat surprised it’s only 5% but thinking about it, I think this makes sense:

    Obviously not on LTE:
    1) iPhone users
    2) Feature phone users
    3) Not in LTE markets
    4) First LTE devices weren’t released until March and later, and they weren’t all that appealing to the general public
    5) Until the end of the year, many non-LTE smartphones were pushed fairly hard. The Bionic/Razr were the first heavily-marketed LTE phones with “general public appeal” (I think). But still, even if I’m wrong on that, you get my point.

    Factor in all of these things and that’s a LOT of non-LTE contracts.

    • KRS_Won

      Don’t forget, a lot of 4G users turn off 4G to save battery. I bet only 5% of 4G phone owners bought an extended battery or are Maxx owners.

  • NegativeOne13

    I have one helluva time keeping 3g service…. 1mb speed… full steam ahead!

  • Chuck N

    I don’t have 4g and will probably be one of the last ones to get even though if I travel 30miles north or south and they have it. I can also about 40 miles east and they also have it. I wish other carriers had better service in my area.

  • sunrise

    I’m not surprised at all. LTE is still fairly new. 4G LTE phone availability just barely increased this past year. Not everyone buys a smartphone and not every smartphone is 4G LTE. iPhone sales are high and not 4G LTE. Things will change once Verizon makes all smartphones 4G LTE.

  • Joel

    Looking at Big Red I do envy the coverage/Speed. But theyre pricing and plans are still my biggest discouraging factor.

    Awesome phones and speedy coverage are one thing…Plan pricing is another.

    • LukeT32

      You just explained why they charge more. The coverage and the speed.

      • Joel

        Right….so now it boils down to if I want to pay nearly 200 bucks for 2 lines just to shave 10-15 seconds off my webpage download time.

  • LukeT32

    VZW and the Gnex are going to take over the world!!!!

  • alexanderharri3

    Not really surprising. The LTE network only covers certain areas, much more now than last year.

    Also, PRICE…LTE phones were well more expensive than the non-LTE counterparts through November and December. Non-iPhone current generation device below $249…well you had to go 3G for that.

    All things considered, 5% is rather good for them considering the barriers to LTE entry (contract ending/ended, LTE coverage region, price)

  • spazby

    verizon will get lte ratio high once new iphone comes out and the herd upgrades….

  • Jorge Vieira

    Im in that five percent! Out here in RI LTE is very spotty but the 3G network is always there so by next year i think ill have full lte it is a small state. I have att and verizon imo beats it ok LTE coverage in my area.

  • Starship

    That’s probably why they don’t throw a fit when I used 5gb + of data :-P

  • Candace Papajohn

    New Hampshire didnt get 4G speeds until late 2011. Now the it is here, it is beneficial to Zco Corporation because they can develop apps that can do a lot more at once, due to advanced multitask speeds. Check out the website if you are interested in developing a mobile application http://www.zco.com/.

  • Steve Santinelli

    Seriously I have no intention of trying to use LTE for anything useful. Friggin 4gb of data for 30 bucks. You give me speeds as fast as my comcast modem at home, and give me 4gb. Yeah, no thanks.

    I’ll do my serious work when I’m on wifi, even going around them and using google voice on my phone for Unlimited calls on my wifi.

    Boost that stupid number to 250gb and call it a day. THEN I’ll use LTE…

  • KRS_Won

    Only 5% use LTE… on a side note only the top 5% use more than 2gb a month. Also, how many people turn off 4G to save battery. 5% bought a extended battery or have a MAXX. I have a MAXX, but as much as I travel, only half the places have 4G.

    And doesn’t 4G cost less/ more efficient for Verizon? I see why they would want everyone to switch over. Not only that, if everybody with a data plan has a 4G phone with batteries that do not last a full day, Verizon wins because no data is being transferred. Verizon will be paid more for doing less….. not that I care, grandfathered with unlimited tether and data. But I don’t want to see Big Red’s network bogged down like Sprint or AT&T

  • KRS_Won

    Does this include mobile hotspots and usb modems?

    As a Mi-Fi owner I was disappointed to find out I couldn’t upgrade to a 4G model when it was time for my upgrade without dropping down to a 2gb plan (now Verizon only offers 5gb and 10gb plans.) I would much rather keep slower unlimited 3G than lose data for faster speeds.

  • Johnathan Prochaska

    I signed a contract in October 2011 so I believe I am stuck with AT&T’s half-baked “4G” service. I honestly am not sure if my Samsung Galaxy S 2 can even get on a real 4G LTE network. I can’t wait until October 2013 to see what kind of devices are available for upgrade.

  • honourbound68

    the more users means less chance that i’ll be in the top 5% of data users that get throttled :)

  • Richard Yarrell

    I know as time moves forward verizon’s network will get stronger with many better devices coming in the next 8months. Having 10gb of data to use on my GNex is a glorious daily thing the perfect experience on the best network yet.

  • Billy

    Love my Nexus. Love LTE. Leave it on … always!

  • Derek

    What’s going to suck is my 4G LTE speeds are steadily declining already. Pretty soon 4G LTE will be as slow as 3G CDMA by the end of the year when the network is loaded up with bandwidth hogging smart phones. There’s simply not enough backhaul to give everybody 10Mbps on 4G LTE. Look at Sprint’s 4G network, its not any faster than AT&T’s 3G WCDMA because so many users and not enough backhaul.

  • yankeesusa

    LTE rollout is one thing verizon is doing a really good job on. They will have most of their 3g area covered by 4g pretty soon, not to mention all those major airports that have 4g antennas right at the airport and the football stadiums too. Verizon is doing a really good job and att and sprint better hurry up if they don’t want to get left behind.

  • jsweetser2

    LTE is fast. It makes my extended battery drain fast. Even when my phone is sleeping, LTE chugs my battery down like a frat boy and his beer. I turn on LTE when i feel i need it, but 3g and wifi are readily available all the time, and keep my battery nice and healthy all day. when LTE uses as much battery as 3g, i’ll turn it on and leave it on.

  • Jack Thakar

    Most people probably aren’t using LTE because they can’t upgrade yet. Verizon (and all US carriers, but particularly Verizon) needs to make early upgrades possible without paying hundreds of extra dollars. I’d be fine with a 4+ year contract (as I have no plans to leave any time soon) provided I could get an upgrade once per year. Cell phone technology is advancing too fast for 2 year upgrade cycles to be feasible any more.

    On a side note, while I do experience a battery drain when using LTE, it’s not as bad as everyone says it is (maybe it’s my rom). How ever, I always feel like I can justify the cost in battery life because of the speed. It is FAST. My best speed test on LTE is 25.13 down/15.57 up while my best speed test on Wifi is 14.15 down/4.34 up.