Verizon is finally starting to take advantage of the all AWS spectrum it acquired in a controversial deal with cable providers. GigaOm reports that, at least in New York City, the carrier has quietly flipped the switch and enabled LTE signals on the 2.1 GHz AWS band. Thanks to the beefed-up network, one user — who happened to be carrying a spectrum analyzer — saw download speeds that topped out at 80Mbps on an iPhone 5S. Those data transfer rates are unlikely to remain so high once more smartphones and tablets hop on to the AWS band (and there are already plenty of compatible devices in Verizon's lineup).
But the added network resources will no doubt help Verizon in its never-ending public relations battle with AT&T. While Verizon can lay claim to the nation's largest LTE network, the two rivals have fiercely contested over which company offers the best connection speeds and overall reliability. Similar reports have claimed that Verizon has also enabled AWS in Chicago and Los Angeles, so it seems the company plans to first leverage its added spectrum in metropolitan hubs where its current infrastructure has become somewhat strained. Of course, the wireless spectrum crunch isn't a new challenge; it's a problem that every major wireless carrier is seeking temporary solutions for.