If you've been using Verizon's LTE service in major urban areas for a few years, you're probably well aware that speeds aren't what they used to be. The drop in speeds has provided fuel for competitors AT&T and T-Mobile, but Verizon is about to roll out its answer to those problems next week, according to rumors. Droid-Life reports that the carrier plans to release a rebranded "XLTE" service in large cities around the country with double the speeds of its current LTE network on May 19th.
Regardless of the branding, "XLTE" (if that's what it'll be called) is the same mobile network technology as the LTE you're using today. To address its bandwidth crunch, Verizon has spent billions on a huge store of AWS spectrum over the years to supplement its current LTE network, which runs on the company's 700MHz spectrum. There's only so much space on that band, and now that Verizon is maxing out it is turning to its AWS spectrum to relieve some pressure on the network. This is not LTE Advanced, the next-generation mobile network technology that promises far faster speeds and will succeed LTE.
Not all Verizon phones support both 700MHz and AWS, but many of the most recent devices — like the iPhone 5S and Galaxy S5 — do. According to Droid-Life's source, Verizon will not charge extra for access to "XLTE," and a leaked Verizon ad for the service says it will offer "double the bandwidth in cities coast to coast." Reports as early as last year demonstrated that Verizon's AWS network offered some impressive speeds during testing, so relief should arrive soon enough for those of you struggling for performance in cities like New York.