Verizon Wireless’ launch of its initial Long Term Evolution (LTE) installation, in West Virginia, indicates that the rollout of the 4G service may be a drawn-out affair.
The capital city of Charleston can expect to get the robust service soon, but other metropolitan areas are not likely to get it until 2013, the company said.
At a showcase dedication in Charleston attended by Senator Jay Rockefeller, a key player on the national telecommunications scene, Verizon Wireless outlined its deployment schedule for the much-awaited robust service.
No other cities have received a Verizon LTE deployment schedule, though prepaid mobile phone provider MetroPCS has begun to offer LTE service in Las Vegas, Dallas and Detroit.
Carved out of the 700-MHz spectrum -- the old TV channels -- LTE is widely anticipated because Verizon expects it will offer from 5Mbps to 12Mbps on the downlink and 2Mbps to 5Mbps on the uplink in real world non-laboratory network environments.
Rockefeller, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, hailed the coming LTE deployment for its economic opportunities and for giving the West Virginia’s citizens “the ability to earn a degree from home, to apply for a job, and to do business in West Virginia and across the globe.”
The LTE spectrum has been an important part of Rockefeller’s effort to provide public safety and first responders with reliable communications channels. He has argued forcefully to allocate a portion of the 700-MHz band for public safety use.
Verizon Wireless’ deployment schedule for West Virginia is the only state schedule outlined by the carrier to date. It has said that some 38 regions will begin to get the service by the end of the year, typically in USB cards and dongles. Handsets with voice calling capability are scheduled to arrive in mid-2011.
“Senator Rockefeller made a compelling case that West Virginians should be among the first in the nation to get the benefits of 4G service,” said Tony Melone, senior vice president and chief technical officer of Verizon Wireless. He added that the deployment will begin in Charleston by the end of the year.
The entire Charleston downtown area is scheduled to be up and running with LTE by mid-2011. By the end of 2013, the expansion is expected to cover Huntington, Parkersburg, Wheeling, Weirton, Beckley, Clarksburg, Morgantown, Fairmont and Martinsburg.
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