In order to combat Sprint and WiMax, Verizon Wireless will deploy an LTE-based 4G network next year.
While many carriers are still trying to deploy 3G networks nationwide, Verizon Wireless has announced plans to roll out the next generation of mobile data.
During a keynote at the Mobile World Congress trade show, CTO Dick Lynch said the mobile operator has tapped Nokia Siemens, Alcatel-Lucent, and Starent Networks to help it deploy a commercial 4G mobile data network next year.
The 4G network is based on Long Term Evolution technology, which has been chosen by most of the world's cellular providers due to its theoretical 100-Mbps download speed. It can offer carriers the ability to have services like high-definition streaming video that aren't possible on current mobile networks, as well as potentially challenge some home Internet providers. Even if it doesn't come close to the theoretical limit, it still outclasses modern high-end 3G handsets, which can get a maximum of 7.6 Mbps downlink speed.
"Verizon Wireless' LTE network deployment will be driven by our vision of providing ubiquitous global wireless broadband connectivity and mobility," said Lynch. "LTE enables us to continue to meet business customers' demands for a higher bandwidth, low-latency service that works broadly in the United States and globally, while helping us to meet consumer demand for mobilizing the many applications they frequently use when tethered to high-bandwidth wired networks."
Lynch said the company's LTE network will launch in two test markets in 2009, and then be rolled out to 25 to 30 markets by the end of 2010. The carrier is hoping to have a nationwide deployment by 2015.
The timetable is rather aggressive, as most industry watchers didn't expect a wide deployment of LTE until at least 2011. But competition from the Sprint-backed Clearwire venture is undoubtedly spurring the roll out. Clearwire, which is also backed by Google, Intel, Samsung, and various cable companies, uses WiMax for its 4G network. While WiMax has a lower theoretical download speed, the service has already been deployed in multiple U.S. cities, and its time-to-market lead may give it an advantage over LTE.
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