Verizon made an announcement today of their LTE plans. Note it is their plans and not any definitive LTE launch dates. In fact there was very little information announced on the devices, applications and pricing. Here is what they did say:
- Launch in 38 markets covering 110 million people by end of year
- Launch in more than 60 commercial airports by end of year
- Initial devices offered at launch would be USB dongles/modems
- More details on partnerships, devices and applications announced at CES 2011
- Working with rural operators to extend LTE coverage beyond Verizon LTE network
- Devices on LTE network will be MIMO capable at launch date
- Plan to cover 200 million pops through 2012 and 285 million pops covered by end of 2013
- Verizon expects 4G LTE average data rates in real-world loaded network environments to be 5 to 12 megabits per second (Mbps) on the downlink and 2 to 5 Mbps on the uplink.
While the press may not be happy with this “prelaunch announcement” there is value for Verizon. With an update announcement, they provide customers who are considering Verizon for 4G services information to keep them with Verizon or to switch to Verizon from a competitor. With this announcement, they also hear from the market what customers and suppliers might be saying to help hone their marketing message.
I did ask about their in-building wireless plans and the response was that 700 MHz will provide great in-building coverage. Given they are providing airport terminal coverage, in-building wireless is important. They also noted that cell-edge coverage on LTE is very good so LTE helps them maximize coverage inside buildings using the macronetwork. Understanding that 4G in-building coverage will occur through upgrades of DAS networks and connected base stations, it is assumed that Verizon will ensure their messaging of 4G includes an understanding that the 3G fallback could be quite common depending on location. They need to thank Sprint for greasing the skids with this message.
Overall the announcement was non-eventful but certainly the right competitive move for Verizon.