Not surprisingly, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) confirmed that its LTE phones won't be compatible with other LTE networks in the U.S. since its phones run on different frequencies, according to a Verizon spokeswoman quoted in PC Mag.
Though the nation's two largest carriers--Verizon and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T)--are using the same band, 700 MHz, for LTE, the two are using different flavors of 700 MHz for their LTE network deployments. Verizon acquired most of the FCC's 700 MHz C Block spectrum (which lies in band class 13) in 2008, while many of AT&T's 700 MHz licenses sit in the lower C and B Blocks (which lie in band class 17). Thus, to reliably roam from AT&T's LTE network to Verizon's, device makers will first have to build LTE gadgets that support band classes 13 and 17. AT&T and Verizon also would have to ink an LTE roaming agreement.
The incompatibility isn't exactly a surprise. Roaming considerations often take a backseat in wireless carriers' network deployments. And despite the fact that LTE will form the basis for much of the world's move to 4G network technology, the hodgepodge of spectrum allocated to LTE likely will prevent ubiquitous roaming for some time.
Indeed, last year AT&T confirmed that its USBConnect Adrenaline from LG--the carrier's first LTE-upgradeable device--wouldn't work on Verizon's LTE network.
In addition, while operators in the past of relied on roaming deals with competitors to fill out their footprints, dual-mode LTE devices mean that operators can rely on their legacy networks for roaming. But the news also underscores the business and technical challenges that remain in the market's push for LTE network technology.
Verizon recently announced that it will officially launch its 100th LTE market July 21, just eight months after launching the service.
- see this PC Mag article
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