Verizon has been an active supporter of LTE since 2007, and anticipated a rollout of the 4G wireless standard in the first half of 2010. Up to this week, judging from what company officials had been saying publicly, the first LTE deployment has been moving along swiftly. CTO Dick Lynch said he expected it would be ready as early as the final months of 2009.
But in an LTE developer's conference on Wednesday, Verizon brought those lofty goals back down to Earth a bit. Instead of the first half of 2010 for commercial deployment, Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam said the first 20 or 30 LTE markets won't be ready until the second half of the year, and complete US coverage won't be attained for another five years. He did not, however address Lynch's prognosis for an early first rollout. (Verizon Wireless is a joint venture between Verizon and Vodafone.)
In late 2007, McAdam announced that VZW would be opening its network to any device that met minimum technical standards. "To keep up with the pace of innovation in the development community, and get ahead of customers' needs, we've decided to encourage the development of new devices and applications by further opening our network," the CEO said. The openness of Verizon's CDMA network has engendered an attitude of openness for the LTE network as well, and McAdam said there will be similar minimum standards, but none too out of reach for device manufacturers.
VZW did not announce any progress toward Voice Over LTE, however, an area where the VoLGA (Voice Over LTE via Generic Access) Forum has been pushing for standardization. Formed only a matter of months ago, the VoLGA Forum includes Alcatel-Lucent, Samsung, T-Mobile, Starent Networks, and ZTE, who seek to utilize the current 3GPP GAN standard to create a way for companies to utilize LTE for voice, messaging, and data.
At the LTE World Summit opening on Monday in Berlin, T-Mobile's Head of Core Network Architecture and board member of VoLGA Franz Seiser, will discuss the initiative and its progress in the last few months.