Verizon Wireless confirmed that it is on track to launch commercial LTE service in 38 major metropolitan areas, covering more than 110 million Americans, by the end of 2010. The company is also on track to launch LTE service in 60 commercial airports across the country.
At a press conference at CTIA in San Francisco, Lowell McAdam, president and chief operating officer of Verizon, said the network launch would be "unprecedented" in that it will cover nearly one-third of the U.S. population from Day One. However, the company has been able to achieve this "cost effectively" -- without increasing its planned CAPEX budget for the year.
Initially, Verizon Wireless will offer USB modems. New LTE consumer products will be shown at CES in January, where the company plans to make some announcements with Google.
Verizon Wireless expects average data rates for LTE to be 5 to 12 Mbps on the downlink and 2 to 5 Mbps on the uplink in real-world, loaded network environments. In its trial network, the company has been impressed by the network performance even at the edge of a cell.
LTE pricing plans have not yet been disclosed.
Initially, voice service will default back to the CDMA network, although the company said this will evolve over time.
In addition, Verizon Wireless has undertaken discussions with other network operators in Tier 2/3 cities and rural markets, offering to provide them spectrum and roaming agreements in exchange for their financial investment in building out their network. Verizon Wireless would also help acquiring equipment for these network builds at the negotiated prices it has established with its vendors.
Markets covered by the initial Verizon Wireless LTE launch include: