Can you hear my LTE call now? Verizon begins 4G rollout

Verizon Wireless said it completed its first successful LTE data call in Boston using the 3GPP Release 8 standard for the technology, following a similar successful test in Seattle. While Verizon previously disclosed its intentions to test the 4G standard in the two cities, the carrier had not provided details on the trials until today.

Interestingly, Verizon Wireless CTO Tony Melone told the Associated Press that the results of the trial indicate LTE will supply average download speeds of 7 to 12 Mbps.

Verizon Wireless said the tests involved streaming video, file uploads and downloads, and Web browsing. Interestingly, Verizon also said it placed voice calls using VoIP technology, though the carrier has said in the past that it plans to keep most voice traffic on its existing CDMA 1x network.

The tests ran on equipment from Verizon's previously announced suppliers: Alcatel-Lucent (in Boston) and Ericsson (in Seattle). LG and Samsung--both longtime handset vendors for the carrier--provided the devices for the trials, but Verizon noted that LTE gadgets from ST Ericsson, Motorola and Qualcomm would be used in future trials.

Boston and Seattle now each have 10 LTE cell sites in operation, the carrier said, running on the 700 MHz spectrum Verizon paid $9.6 billion to secure during last year's FCC spectrum auction. Though Verizon will be the first to market with LTE in the United States, other operators including MetroPCS and AT&T have made it clear they are going to follow. MetroPCS has said it will look to launch LTE in the second half of 2010. AT&T will begin testing LTE in 2010, with deployment beginning in 2011.    

Verizon said it expects to have 30 commercial LTE markets up and running in 2010, and plans to have a nationwide buildout completed in late 2013 or early 2014.

For more:
- see this AP article
- see this release

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