Verizon's Melone: LTE smartphones on track, despite 'issues'

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) is on track to launch its LTE smartphones in the first half of the year, a top Verizon executive said, but the carrier is working through unnamed technology issues related to the device deployment.

Verizon HTC Thunderbolt LTE smartphone tv adSpeaking at the Credit Suisse Convergence conference, Verizon Communications CTO Tony Melone said that nothing has changed from the carrier's statements at the Consumer Electronics Show in January that its first wave of LTE smartphones will be available by mid-year. The carrier has indicated that the HTC Thunderbolt will be its first LTE smartphone, and has even run a TV advertisement playing up the device's speed. However, Verizon has not said yet when it will launch the phone, how much it will cost or what the nature of its LTE smartphone data plans will be.

"First half of the year is what we promised, first half of the year is still on track," Melone said. "So we don't believe there are any new or surprising issues. I think what we're facing is what you would expect, and that is a new technology, you are working through issues. And we anticipated that, and we are pleased at how we are working through issues. And as I said, you are going to see LTE smartphones on the network as promised, before the first half--before the second half of the year, by the end of the second quarter."

Melone did not indicate what specific technology issues Verizon is working through, but all of the carrier's LTE smartphones will be optimized for video calling via Skype, which might be one potential hurdle. Additionally, Melone told FierceWireless in February that Verizon's LTE smartphones will be able to perform simultaneous voice and data sessions--another potential issue.

During the Credit Suisse Convergence conference, Melone also was asked about the battery life on Verizon's forthcoming LTE smartphones. "Again, battery life has always been a topic of folks, no different than it was with 3G," he said. "The OEMs and ourselves, between the network and the device, we'll optimize it and provide a battery experience that we believe will be acceptable to consumers." 

For more:
- see this ZDNet article

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