Verizon Wireless has been accruing AWS spectrum by the bucket full over the past couple of years, but the operator has yet to make use of it for consumers. That's going to change soon, according to the company's CTO, Nicola Palmer. In an interview with Fierce Wireless, Palmer detailed the carrier's plans to roll out devices that run on the AWS bands by this July, and that it will outfit 5,000 of its cell sites with AWS support by the end of this year. That rollout will continue into next year, as more devices are launched that can utilize the AWS frequencies. Palmer didn't say specifically which manufacturers would offer AWS devices, but it is very likely that any AWS smartphone would be multimode and support 700MHz LTE as well.
Palmer also says that Verizon will be mostly done deploying LTE service in the 700MHz band by the middle of this year, after which it will start the AWS deployment. Between its 700MHz rollout and the AWS service, the company plans to have 90 percent of the US covered in LTE service by the end of this year. With regards to international roaming for LTE service, Palmer said that both the 700MHz and AWS frequencies will offer international support, though which one is used specifically will vary by country. Verizon acquired its AWS spectrum from a variety of sources, including a deal with T-Mobile and a consortium of cable companies under the name SpectrumCo.
Devices will arrive this summer, with AWS service shortly thereafter
Additionally, Verizon still plans to launch Voice over LTE service by the end of this year or early next year. The carrier also plans to migrate to LTE Advanced in the future, which will provide greater speeds and higher capacity. Recent studies have claimed that while Verizon's LTE network is by far the largest in the US, competitor AT&T actually has the faster LTE service on average. But with the migration to LTE Advanced, Verizon could catch up, though the carrier did not specify when it would be implementing the faster service.