After rumors surfaced over the weekend, Verizon has officially announced XLTE. Rather than a new wireless technology, XLTE is basically just a consumer-friendly buzz term for speed and capacity improvements that Verizon has made to its network with the help of AWS spectrum. Wherever XLTE is available — Verizon says it's already deployed in over half of the carrier's existing LTE markets — customers will notice faster data speeds and overall performance in congested cities and during peak hours of the day. Specifically, Verizon says it's now offering double the LTE bandwidth in many areas coast to coast.
Verizon led the transition to LTE in the United States, and the footprint of its LTE coverage is still larger than any rival as a result. But the company has also been hit hard by the rise in smartphones and tablets on its network. Competitors like AT&T and T-Mobile now claim to provide faster LTE speeds, and Verizon — long the gold standard for reliable wireless coverage — has at times struggled in crucial markets like New York.
XLTE is the company's answer to those challenges, but it didn't come cheap. Verizon has spent billions to increase its AWS holdings over the years to help reduce strain on its wireless infrastructure. Now those investments are finally paying off. A number of popular smartphones like the iPhone 5S, Galaxy S5, Galaxy S4, and Motorola's Droid lineup are already XLTE-ready. Even those that aren't will experience improvements, according to Verizon, since compatible devices will take advantage of AWS spectrum (where available) and free up resources elsewhere.