Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) confirmed it is starting to market its LTE network running on its AWS spectrum as an "XLTE" network, providing more capacity to customers.
Verizon has deployed AWS spectrum across more than half of its 500 LTE markets, both large and small, since it started rolling out AWS to augment capacity in major markets such as Chicago, New York City and San Francisco late last year.
Some of the major markets that now feature AWS include Atlanta, Boston, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Smaller markets include ones like Mobile, Ala,; Stockton, Calif.; Hartford, Conn.; Orlando, Fla.; Peoria, Ill,; Lansing, Mich.; Fargo, N.D.; Erie, Pa.; and San Antonio, Texas. Verizon has said it will deploy AWS spectrum nationwide over the next 14 to 18 months.
"The industry and tech world recognize this is a big deal, and we want consumers to know, too," Verizon Wireless CMO Ken Dixon said. "We continue to offer the very best network, bar none. Now, XLTE provides an even greater advantage to customers by doubling the 4G LTE bandwidth and providing faster peak speeds in cities coast to coast."
Verizon said XLTE delivers faster peak data speeds and a minimum of double the bandwidth to LTE customers in "high-traffic areas in markets nationwide where AWS spectrum has been activated." In these markets Verizon is deploying a full 40 MHz of spectrum, building on top of the 10x10 MHz, or 20 MHz total it used for its 700 MHz deployment, which covers 305 million POPs.
However, Verizon stopped short of promising faster average speeds via XLTE. "Our plan is always to anticipate and stay ahead of demand, and we're doing that with XLTE. Our promise of 5-12 Mbps (and 2-5 Mbps up) hasn't changed," said Verizon spokeswoman Debra Lewis.
The carrier noted that "XLTE-ready" devices automatically access both 700 MHz spectrum and the AWS spectrum in XLTE cities, and that customers whose devices do not have access to AWS benefit by traffic moving off of 700 MHz and onto AWS spectrum. Verizon has said at least 73 percent of its mobile data traffic is running on its LTE network.
Nearly all of the devices Verizon sells, including its newest Droid devices, its Samsung Galaxy S4, S5 and Note 3, and the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, are capable of running on its AWS spectrum. Today, more than 35 percent of all devices operating on Verizon's network can access AWS spectrum.
Verizon purchased roughly 20 MHz of nationwide AWS spectrum from a group of cable companies for $3.9 billion in a deal the FCC approved in 2012.
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.
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