Verizon commits to LTE for all future smartphones

LAS VEGAS--Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) intends to have LTE support in essentially all of its smartphones and many other devices going forward as it seeks to build on its momentum with the technology and move more customer off its 3G CDMA network.

According to CNET, Verizon requires that practically every smartphone, hotspot device, tablet and netbook it offers will come with LTE support, including devices from Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) and those running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone. There will be some exceptions to the rule. For example, Verizon's push-to-talk devices are not likely to get LTE support soon, and just this week at the Consumer Electronics Show, Verizon announced the BlackBerry Curve 9730, which does not support LTE. 

Interestingly, Keith Lampron, Verizon's associate director of device marketing, told CNET that Verizon fully intends to support Windows Phone in the future, foreshadowing a partnership for LTE devices. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), which has been the strongest U.S. Windows Phone supporter, said this week it will launch the LTE-capable Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II. So far Verizon has launched just one Windows Phone, the HTC Trophy.

Verizon also confirmed to Phonescoop that its newest LTE smartphones will have embedded global GSM/WCDMA roaming capabilities. Although the devices do not support global roaming yet, they likely will in the near future. "The LTE phones work globally in over 40 countries that currently use CDMA technology," Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney told Phonescoop. "For the new LTE phones to provide global roaming voice and data in non-CDMA countries, we are working on a few network enhancements so we can provide customers with the best voice and data roaming experience. We anticipate this capability to be available this year, likely the first half of the year."

Verizon activated 2.2 million LTE devices in the fourth quarter, its best quarterly result since launching LTE service in December 2010. The company's LTE network, which now covers 200 million POPs, was also likely aided by its LTE data promotion, the double data offer. Introduced at the beginning of November, the double data offer, which ends Jan. 15, gives new LTE smartphone subscribers double the data the carrier previously offered (4 GB of LTE data for $30, instead of 2 GB, for example). Verizon's LTE network was marred by three separate outages in December due to issues with the company's IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architecture.

For more:
- see this CNET article
- see this Phonescoop post

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