BARCELONA, Spain--During a press conference announcing Verizon Wireless' new membership in the GSMA, Richard Lynch, CTO of Verizon Communications, said the carrier is on track with its LTE deployment and that he is confident the company will launch its planned 25 to 30 LTE markets this year. He added that two markets--Boston and Seattle--will be ready within the next 60 days.
However, in an interview later with FierceWireless, Lynch clarified that even though Boston and Seattle will be commercially ready in 60 days, the company will not launch those markets until later in the year. "Boston and Seattle will be fully passed in terms of testing, and then we will announce to our vendors that we are ready for commercial infrastructure deployment in a big way," he said. "I have no doubt that we will make a 2010 launch."
Lynch added that LTE devices will be ready this this year. In fact, the company is already evaluating about eight to 10 LTE end-user devices. Although the majority of those devices are USB dongles, he said that there are a few handsets in the mix. In fact, he said he expects to introduce LTE handsets more quickly than expected because of all the developments in LTE devices and the standardizing of voice over LTE.
Also at the press conference, the GSMA announced it would adopt the work of the One Voice initiative to develop a global standard for voice over LTE. Verizon is part of the group and Lynch said that having a common standard for voice will be critical for international roaming among LTE networks. "From the beginning it was our belief that voice over LTE was a necessity," Lynch said. "Voice is just an application. Now we have a standard application and API set."
Lynch added that just because Verizon is part of this group, it doesn't mean the company won't have other VoIP offerings, but he wouldn't provide any further information. Verizon announced on Friday that it will be holding a joint press conference tomorrow with VoIP provider Skype. It's possible that the two firms will unveil a Skype client for Verizon handsets.
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