Nicola Palmer, Verizon’s CTO, spoke today at MobileCon about Verizon’s upcoming LTE roadmap. Today the company announces that it will launch service in its 400th market, Marquette Michigan, on October 18th — actually the total will be 417. Verizon has long had an advantage in LTE and despite inroads from AT&T and (to a lesser extent) Sprint, the company has a long lead in terms of LTE coverage and speed. In the face of these upstarts, Verizon was keen to re-establish itself as the LTE leader in the US. The goal is to mirror Verizon's entire 3G network with 4G LTE, and Verizon says it will get there by the end of 2013.
As a part of touting its LTE network, Verizon said that it had 11 million of its post-paid customers on its LTE network. The company pointed out that it is currently available in 300 markets, covering 75 percent of the US population — the company has introduced 37 different LTE devices to consumers since the launch of the network. That accounts for 35 percent of Verizon’s total data network as of the end of September, and the company expects that soon the majority of its traffic will happen over LTE.
"We're the leader in LTE right now. We plan on maintaining that lead."
Looking to the future, Verizon said it was "looking forward" to adding elements of LTE Advanced to its network, but wouldn't not give a specific timeline or details. With regard to the AWS spectrum that Verizon is picking up from T-Mobile, Palmer characterized it as a way to add "depth and breadth" to Verizon's existing 700MHz LTE spectrum, which is still the "go-to" for LTE. The company is already laying the groundwork to launch AWS, and expects that devices that take advantage of that spectrum will become available next year.
Finally, Verizon is still testing Voice over LTE, but doesn't expect that it will "have something until the end of 2013" for consumers. From a technical perspective, Verizon characterized its VoLTE implementation as technically sound, with full HD quality.