Verizon's Melone discusses '4G' marketing claims

SAN FRANCISCO--Speaking at the Open Mobile Summit conference here, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) CTO Anthony Melone was careful to call Verizon's forthcoming LTE service as "4G LTE"--a notable distinction in light of the wireless industry's recent brouhaha over how and when to use the term "4G" in marketing network upgrades.

Verizon Wireless' CTO Anthony MeloneWhen asked whether his "4G LTE" phrasing was an effort to distinguish Verizon's LTE network from other operators that are also using the 4G moniker to describe their offerings, Melone said that Verizon's 4G LTE network will be a differentiator on its own. "Ultimately, the biggest differentiator is when the networks are built to perform," Melone said. "We've been talking about 4G for some time. We look at it as transformational. We can get into technicalities of what is 4G or not, but from a customer perspective, it is a generational leap."

Melone went on to say that while other carriers may be just enhancing software on existing platforms (alluding to T-Mobile's HSPA+ claims), he believes what Verizon is doing with LTE will provide a unique experience. "All that matters is that the network allows all developers to do something uniquely different and there's no doubt in my mind that our LTE network will do that. Let the customers decide whether it's a transformational experience or not."

T-Mobile USA ignited a marketing battle over the term "4G" last week when it unveiled a new marketing campaign that designated its HSPA+ network as "America's largest 4G network." Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) disputed T-Mobile's claims; the company has been trumpeting its 4G mobile broadband service, which it calls Sprint 4G, for the past two years. Sprint offers the service via Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) mobile WiMAX network. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) also balked at T-Mobile's 4G claims, arguing that T-Mobile's network is based on the same HSPA+ technology that AT&T has deployed to 180 million people today, more than T-Mobile's reported 140 million.

For its part, Verizon plans to sometime this year launch LTE service across 38 cities, covering 110 million POPs.

Interestingly, Melone also discussed how Verizon will offer broadcasting services across its planned LTE network. According to IDG News Service, the carrier will allocate a portion of its LTE spectrum to broadcasting technology. The offering will allow the carrier to efficiently broadcast live events to multiple subscribers.

For more:
- see this IDG News Service article

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