Verizon poised to join the 400 club on 18 October
Verizon Wireless has announced at the MobileCON 2012 conference that Marquette, Michigan, is poised to become the 400th market to receive Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, when the new network is lit on 18 October. The Marquette launch means that the mobile giant has hit its projected 400-markets target two months ahead of schedule. 18 October will also see Verizon initiate LTE services in a further 20 markets, taking its total to 417.
That week 37 existing markets will also witness expanded LTE coverage and going forward Verizon claims that its 4G network will cover 245 million people across the United States, or approximately 80% of the population. Confirming the developments, Nicola Palmer, chief technical officer of Verizon Wireless, noted that as of end-June 2012 nearly eleven million customers utilized its LTE network, which now accounts for more than 35% of its data traffic. Further, in less than two years, Verizon has reached a point with LTE that took eight years with 3G. Verizon’s entire 3G footprint should be covered by 4G by the end of 2013.
Verizon also plans to shut down its 2G and 3G CDMA networks by 2021, with Aparna Khurjekar, Verizon’s vice president of global strategy for M2M, confirming: ‘We are giving a decade worth of pre-warning’. The admission follows similar announcements by Verizon’s two main rivals, AT&T Mobility and Sprint Nextel, both of which are in the process of phasing out older networks and re-farming their spectrum to support newer technologies. Sprint plans to turn off its iDEN network next year, while AT&T has pledged to turn off its 2G GSM network by 2017.