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Verizon sees mobile consolidation on LTE

Posted: 09 Apr 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:700MHz? 4G? Long Term Evolution? LTE standard?

Verizon Wireless announced that the 4G mobile phone universe is consolidating around the Long Term Evolution standard (LTE) and that it plans to launch its LTE service beginning in 2010.

Breaking a Federal Communications Commission-ordered silent period that expired late Apr. 3, Verizon executives outlined the company's plans for the so-called "beachfront property" spectrum in a Webcast. The company, jointly owned by Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group, bid $9.36 billion for a nationwide spectrum footprint in the C block and for additional licenses in the United States.

"We now have sufficient spectrum to continue growing our business and data revenues well intoand possibly throughthe next decade," president and CEO Lowell McAdam said. "This is the very best spectrum with excellent propagation and in-building characteristics. We also believe that the combination of the national, contiguous, same-frequency C block footprint and our transition to LTE will make Verizon the preferred partner for developers of a new wave of consumer electronics and applications using this next-generation technology."

Verizon executives said the company will work with Vodafone and China Mobile, laying the groundwork in the remainder of 2008 and beginning infrastructure deployment in the second half of 2009. A commercial launch is slated to get under way in 2010. The new spectrum is expected to be cleared for use by mid-February, increasing Verizon Wireless' average spectrum depth to 82MHz from today's depth of 52MHz.

LTE move
Company officials recently met at an industry function with leading wireless infrastructure firms Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, and Nortel, and Verizon's executives came away with the conclusion that "the industry is all lining up around LTE." Verizon said the wholesale move by the industry to LTE will put an end to the "religious wars" that have been the hallmark of existingand competingwireless infrastructure standards.

Verizon executives said the coming deployment and adoption of wireless broadband will create "a tidal wave of innovation" as existing desktop applications move over to cell phones and the wireless world. They hailed the 700MHz spectrum as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Verizon added that the 102 licenses it acquired in the A and B blocks will help it deliver additional growth capacity in key markets.

Company officials alluded briefly to Google, indicating that the search engine company influenced the FCC to open up sections of the C block for use by devices and services by companies that don't own spectrum. Verizon initially opposed Google's effort, but later relented and announced a plan whereby independent providers can operate on the Verizon Wireless network after they or their devices have been certified.

- W. David Gardner

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