Verizon Wireless CTO Dick Lynch said the operator expects to have Long Term Evolution technology in service somewhere in the U.S. by December 2009. Lynch, speaking at Cisco Systems’ C-Scape conference in San Jose, also said Verizon will offer femtocells, which will likely include WiFi as an added feature, shortly after introducing LTE.
“A femtocell of LTE or an access point of WiFi is a really critical component of the way customers want their broadband delivered,” Lynch said.
Verizon’s move represents an aggressive timeframe for LTE, which has largely been understood to hit the market in 2010. However, speakers at this week’s LTE America’s conference indicated they were skeptical that a 2010 LTE launch was attainable, according to an article in RCR News. LTE was supposed to be standardized by the end of this year, but the date has now been pushed to March.
Qualcomm has also recently issued an aggressive timeline for releasing engineering samples of its LTE/HSPA+ device modem. It is trying for the second quarter of 2009. The company, however, cautioned commercial availability of of the MDM9000 “still depends on a number of very uncertain factors, many of which are dependent on mobile network operators’ plans and investment priorities about how and when to roll out this next stage of wireless technology,” said Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president and general manager for Qualcomm Europe, speaking at the company’s inaugural European Innovation Summit last week.
Why the rush for Verizon? Ken Hyers, analyst with Technology Business Research, said in a recent interview that Verizon desires to push aggressively with LTE because it’s running out of data capacity on its CDMA EVDO network and must compete with higher speed HSPA+ AT&T Wireless is rolling out before its own LTE launch.
“The operator’s entire reputation is built around network quality and coverage and having the best network,” Hyers said. Verizon “will have to continue increasing data capacity.”