Report: Verizon could challenge Sprint Spark with AWS-powered 'XLTE' branding

Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) will soon start marketing its LTE network running on its AWS spectrum as an "XLTE" network, according to the blog Droid-Life.

The blog, citing unnamed sources, said Verizon would start using the marketing term on May 19. A Verizon spokesman declined to comment.

It's unclear what exactly might change besides the new moniker. Verizon has been deploying AWS spectrum to augment capacity on its LTE network since last fall. Verizon's macro LTE network, which covers around 305 million POPs, is based on the carrier's 700 MHz Upper C Block spectrum.

Speaking earlier this month at an investor conference, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo said the company has "started to launch our AWS spectrum especially in our major cities and we will roll that across the United States over the next 14 to 18 months." Verizon had previously said it would launch AWS spectrum in 50 different cities in the first half of 2014. Verizon acquired a 20x20 MHz block of AWS airwaves covering 54 percent of the U.S. population from a group of cable companies in 2012 for $3.9 billion.

Nicola Palmer, Verizon Wireless' chief network officer, has said that, in every major city east of the Mississippi and in several western markets, Verizon's AWS spectrum would essentially allow the carrier to double the amount of spectrum it can use for LTE, from 20 MHz to 40 MHz.

The push to deploy AWS makes sense as Verizon said that 73 percent of all its data traffic now travels over its LTE network. More than a quarter of the LTE smartphones on the carrier's network can now access AWS spectrum, and virtually all of Verizon's new smartphones are AWS-capable.

As part of Verizon's marketing for its "More Everything" shared data plans, the carrier has said that its network now has "double the bandwidth in cities coast to coast."

Other carriers are also augmenting the capacity and performance of their LTE networks. T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) is starting to deploy 4x2 MIMO antenna technology in its LTE network to enhance network performance at the cell edge and generally boost the customer experience.

Sprint (NYSE: S) has branded its tri-band LTE service as Spark; the service takes advantage of Sprint's 2.5 GHz spectrum and radios that have capabilities for 8 Transmitters 8 Receivers (8T8R), which the carrier has said will improve network performance. And AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) is starting to refarm its 1900 MHz PCS spectrum for LTE services in major market as well.

For more:
- see this Droid-Life article

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