Verizon Wireless: Soon Majority of Data Traffic Will Be on LTE
Verizon Wireless said that more than a third of its data traffic is already travelling on its fastest LTE network, and that within a few months, the majority of data traffic will be on that network.
It is taking only two years to reach that milestone, compared to the eight years it took 3G to account for the bulk of data traffic, Chief Technical Officer Nicola Palmer said in a presentation on Tuesday at the MobileCon event in San Diego.
“As we look at the growth of data, it’s been phenomenal,” Palmer said.
As of last quarter, 11 million of Verizon’s 89 million contract customers are on 4G LTE devices.
The company had said it would hit 400 markets by the end of the year, and Palmer said the company will hit that milestone on Oct. 18, with Marquette, Michigan. The company plans to cover its complete 3G coverage area with LTE by the end of next year.
Palmer said that the company will then look to LTE Advanced to boost the company’s capacity in addition to its coverage area.
“It’s one of the tools we have in our toolbox,” Palmer said, in addition to building more cell sites and adding spectrum.
Palmer noted that the company’s network is the largest LTE network in the world, and now covers 75 percent of the U.S. population, with more markets being added each month.
In a move to get more devices onto the network, Verizon announced in June a shift to new shared data plans. Such plans, also offered by AT&T, allow customers to share a pool of gigabytes across multiple devices.
The company is also doing the work needed to prepare to handle voice as well as data over LTE. Testing is ongoing, with Palmer noting that she recently made a call over the network.
As for when service will kick off, Palmer said to “expect something toward end of 2013.”