LTE has emerged as the next-generation network technology winner among North American mobile operators. Even staunch WiMAX supporter Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) recently confirmed that it will begin deploying "LTE-Advanced-ready" network technology in addition to maintaining its mobile WiMAX network.
Likewise, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) (which uses Clearwire's WiMAX network for its Sprint 4G service) has hinted that it will likely deploy LTE as part of its Network Vision project. The company is expected to reveal more of its plans during an Oct. 7 investor meeting.
Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) is clearly leading the LTE push with its nationwide network that now covers more than 117 cities and 160 million POPs. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) is expected to launch LTE in five markets this summer, covering a total of 15 by year-end. MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) operates LTE in its 14 core markets and U.S. Cellular is expected to begin launching LTE in November.
Meanwhile, T-Mobile continues to tout its HSPA+ 42 network, which is now available in 152 markets covering 170 million POPs. T-Mobile has dubbed both its HSPA+ 21 and HSPA+ 42 network expansions as "4G." The company said its network produces speeds on par with LTE.
With 4G networks becoming a reality, many operators are turning to the next stage of the deployment game--maximizing their investment in 4G. The first step in that process is getting consumers to upgrade to 4G. One way operators are doing that is by launching state-of-the-art 4G devices and by touting their 4G network superiority. Operators are also focused on enhancing their buildouts with next-generation backhaul and emphasizing the value of these faster networks with services such as video.
But 4G is no longer just an option for the Tier 1 operators, Tier 2 and Tier 3 operators are also exploring ways that they can effectively deploy LTE.
FierceWireless is delving into all these aspects of 4G during our upcoming "Future of 4G" virtual event that will take place on Sept. 20. Please take a look at the agenda and sign up today! --Sue
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