In 2010, Verizon Wireless CTO (NYSE:VZ) and 2010 FierceWireless rising star Tony Melone was the face behind the company's high profile LTE launch. Melone, who has since been promoted to CTO of Verizon Communications, was the Verizon executive who championed the company's LTE launch to the media and to the industry. But it is Melone's colleague, Nicola Palmer, vice president of network operations at Verizon Wireless, who is working with a team of people behind the scenes to make sure that Verizon's CDMA EVDO network as well as its new LTE network are performing at their peak.
In particular, Palmer has been upgrading the company's backhaul network to include Ethernet transmissions based on fiber. Palmer also has said that she's comfortable using microwave backhaul when it's available and can meet the operator's time frame.
This backhaul upgrade is particularly important for Verizon's EVDO network as the company is anticipating a flood of new data traffic over the network generated by the sale of a CDMA-capable Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 4. Verizon has said that it will offer unlimited data access for $30 a month for those iPhone 4 subscribers, at least temporarily. (Verizon Communications COO Lowell McAdam has warned that the carrier likely will follow AT&T's (NYSE:T) move to tiered pricing in the future.)
Nevertheless, the industry will be watching intently to see whether Verizon's network can handle the onslaught of these data-intensive iPhone subscribers. Verizon has long touted its network performance--Palmer's role is to make sure that performance is unhindered.