Verizon's Mead: We don't need to refarm spectrum for LTE

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) does not need to refarm any spectrum currently being used for its 2G and CDMA EV-DO networks for LTE services, according to Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead. The Verizon chief argued that if the company gets access to cable companies' AWS spectrum it will be in a "solid spectrum position."

Verizon CEO Dan Mead

Mead

In a wide-ranging interview with Global Telecoms Business, Mead said that refarming "is not something that is in front of us in the immediate future because those networks are growing for us. Maybe down the road, but it's not something that's of great concern right now." Verizon offers EV-DO service over its PCS spectrum and also has holdings of 800 MHz cellular spectrum. However, Mead noted that there is a great deal of activity on those networks now and that the carrier is "always looking at making sure we use the spectrum we have as efficiently as we can."

Many carriers, including MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), are actively exploring the idea of refarming certain segments of their spectrum holdings for LTE use in the future. In contrast, Verizon is currently using its 700 MHz C Block spectrum to blanket the country with LTE, but has said it will use AWS spectrum to supplement that coverage in the future. Verizon agreed to spend $3.9 billion to acquire the nationwide AWS spectrum licenses held by SpectrumCo, a joint venture of cable companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, as well as AWS holdings from Cox Communications. The deals, which would give Verizon an even deeper AWS footprint, are subject to approval by the FCC and Department of Justice.

"I don't want to speculate too far into the future, but I would say this. Once we have approval and have completed the transaction for AWS we feel we have the spectrum capacity for the expansion based on the demands we see coming from our customers," Mead said. "We're going to be in a solid spectrum position."

During the interview Mead also touched on an area Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam has alluded to as a potential long-term benefit of the deals with the cable companies: collaborating on delivering home video content to wireless devices. Mead did not discuss that specifically, but pointed to the possibilities created by LTE technology.

"We see opportunities for a level of integrated experience, so if you're in the home, in one of our FiOS homes, and you want to walk away from your television set and use your tablet for content delivery, LTE provides those capabilities," he said. Mead noted that "there is a lot of work to do in the industry" to make that happen, adding that "we're at the very beginning stages of that."

Indeed, Verizon ended a trial with DirecTV in December for an in-home LTE service.

For more:
- see this Global Telecoms Business article

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