Windows Phone Needs LTE To Succeed, Says Verizon

Verizon Wireless would be happier to sell Windows Phone devices if they had Long Term Evolution 4G.
7 Hottest Features In Windows Phone 7 Mango
Slideshow: 7 Hottest Features In Windows Phone 7 Mango
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Microsoft's Windows Phone platform lacks support for any type of 4G wireless broadband. It doesn't support WiMax or Long Term Evolution, which are the two 4G technologies being deployed in the United States by major network operators AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless.

Verizon Wireless recently indicated that Windows Phone's failure to hop on the 4G bandwagon is preventing the nation's number-one carrier from backing Microsoft's mobile platform more fully.

"We've communicated to Microsoft that LTE is critical to us," said Marni Walden, chief marketing officer of Verizon Wireless, in an interview with Cnet. "We need to see a timeline that makes sense if we want to continue to represent them."

Right now, Verizon Wireless sells only one Windows Phone 7 device, the HTC Trophy. Microsoft recently provided the Mango system update to its entire line of Windows Phones, but didn't add 4G support to the platform with the new software.

Additionally, manufacturers haven't announced any new Mango handsets that will run on Sprint and Verizon's CDMA 3G networks. Of the new Mango phones announced so far, the HTC Titan, Samsung Focus S, and Focus Flash are available only from AT&T, while the HTC Radar 4G is only available from T-Mobile.

Monday marks the one-year anniversary of Verizon's LTE network launch. LTE now covers more than 200 million Americans. Verizon has 16 LTE devices in its stable right now, and plans to add four more before the end of the year. In 2012, nearly all smartphones sold by Verizon Wireless will include support for its LTE 4G network.

Verizon's Walden explained to Cnet that it will release LTE smartphones at a fairly even pace throughout 2012, with a new flagship Droid phone appearing once per quarter. To date, all of Verizon's LTE-packing smartphones run Google's Android platform. RIM hasn't fielded any LTE-equipped BlackBerrys yet.

Verizon is banking on the strength of its LTE network for the company's future. Last week, it announced plans to acquire $3.6 billion worth of 1700-MHz AWS spectrum from SpectrumCo to bolster its already-strong 4G network. If the government approves the spectrum sale, Verizon Wireless will maintain its leading edge in the 4G market for the indefinite future.

The bad news for Microsoft is that Walden implied Verizon Wireless may not sell any new Windows Phone devices if they don't have LTE onboard. Losing support from Verizon Wireless would be a pretty big blow to Microsoft, which has struggled to find traction in the market with Windows Phone. It needs all the carrier support it can get.

For the 15th consecutive year, InformationWeek is conducting its U.S. IT Salary Survey. Upon completion of the survey, you will be eligible to enter a contest for prizes including a Bravia HDTV or iPad 2, and get a link to download our report once it is published. Take the survey now. Survey ends Jan. 20.

Editor's Choice
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Terry White, Associate Chief Analyst, Omdia
John Abel, Technical Director, Google Cloud
Richard Pallardy, Freelance Writer
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Pam Baker, Contributing Writer