Verizon unveils new baseband chip certification program

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) said it will institute a new baseband chipset certification process for its EV-DO and LTE networks to reduce time to market for devices. The carrier also selected a new provider of (U)SIM and CSIM Interface test equipment to help with the process.

The carrier said its new program will simplify device certification requirements while ensuring uniform quality. Verizon said the program applies to all new chipsets; existing chipsets may be grandfathered into the program at Verizon's discretion. Verizon chose Comprion to provide LTE-USIM and CDMA-CSIM Interface testing for handsets. The company will be used for both LTE and multi-mode handsets, Verizon said.

Verizon's CDMA devices do not have SIM cards, but its LTE devices do have SIMs. Most carriers typically have a chipset certification process to meet network and quality of service standards, said In-Stat analyst Jim McGregor. However, he said this kind of testing is typically done at the device level and not the chipset level.

McGregor said that testing and certification at the chipset level will become increasingly important, especially to Verizon, as more carriers launch LTE devices. "Especially as we're moving to 4G, there's more concern about quality service and achievable speeds," he told FierceWireless.

He said the transition from 3G networks to LTE networks is a difficult one to make, especially for Verizon, since it does not have a legacy HSPA network to fall back on. "You want to make sure you have quality of service in either one," he said. "It's probably a good, pro-active move because the last thing you want to have to do is be dealing with problems with the phone when the phone comes out."

Verizon has taken other pro-active steps recently to ensure network quality. Verizon said that if subscribers sign up for a data plan on or after Feb. 3 and use an "extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5 percent of Verizon Wireless data users," the carrier may throttle throughput speeds periodically for the remainder of the subscriber's billing cycle and into the next cycle--an effort to prevent network overloading. In addition to the throttling policy, Verizon also said it will implement optimization and transcoding technologies for files, and that the techniques will include caching less data, using less capacity and sizing videos more appropriately for devices.

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