ORLANDO, Fla.--Just a year ago mobile operators were lamenting about the lack solutions to backhaul their mobile broadband networks. Today, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) CTO and Senior Vice President David Small touted the fact that all of the operator's LTE markets slated for the second phase of LTE rollout features Ethernet backhaul, Small told the audience at FierceWireless' "Path to 4G" conference Tuesday.
"Ethernet backhaul is something we have been working very hard to get," Small said. "I have been very impressed to see the amount of backhaul out there. In one market-which isn't a very large market-we had more than nine responses to an RFP we put out for backhaul ... In my view, we have a very healthy ecosystem."
Verizon also detailed another 59 markets that will see LTE by the end of the year. It will have LTE in 147 markets by the end of the year. Small said the a high number of Verizon's cell sites are running on fiber.
Small added that Verizon is willing to make long-term leasing agreement with Ethernet backhaul players that are willing to make the heavy investments to secure capacity where the operator needs it. In addition, he said that Verizon Wireless isn't partial to Verizon Communications' vast fiber holdings but procures fiber through an RFP process.
Since launching LTE service in December with a product offering consisting of two UBS modems, Verizon has seen, as expected, a significantly large amount of video traffic, Small said. Naturally, subscribers aren't consuming massive amounts of data because of the data caps Verizon has put into place, he said.
Small said Verizon will introduce later this year an Applications Innovation Center in San Francisco that will complement its efforts with its existing LTE Innovation Center in Waltham, Mass. The center will be totally focused on applications and is designed to help application developers understand how their apps might work with the network.
While Verizon in the past has indicated that Voice over LTE (VoLTE) would become available 2012, Small declined to give a date for migration.
"It will take a while," Small said. "When we think about VoLTE, you have to have service that ‘s secure and works ... It really has to be built out in a global way first."
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