NEW ORLEANS – Verizon Wireless’ domination of the domestic, and for that matter worldwide, LTE market, was built on trials and tribulations. For a carrier that claims to currently carry 60% of the world’s LTE traffic and has a history of touting network quality, there is hope that those issues are now behind.
Hans Leutenegger, VP of Network in the South region for Verizon Wireless, noted that the carrier did see some issues with certain devices and equipment that led to some well-publicized network issues last year, but that for the most part it has learned from those issues and does not expect a repeat. The carrier is also seeing advancements in the handoff of data sessions between its legacy CDMA network and LTE network, which Leutenegger explained will allow consumers to maintain data sessions when switching between networks.
Leutenegger added that the carrier was also planning on deploying small cells to enhance LTE capacity where needed, but that the process was still in trial phases. Verizon Wireless is aggressively pursuing 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum assets at the expense of “excess” 700 MHz spectrum in an attempt to fortify network capacity and density.
Leutenegger noted that remaining challenges for its small cell plans include mitigating interference from such closely spaced nodes, and ensuring adequate backhaul and power supplies. However, those challenges were favored over relying of Wi-Fi offload options, which Leutenegger said for the most part removed control over a customer’s experience from Verizon Wireless’ hands.
As for continued capacity support, Leutenegger emphasized the carrier’s plans to stick with fiber whenever possible, noting that microwave solutions are only used as a temporary stopgap in situations where fiber is still not available. He explained that microwave offerings would in the long term be a limiting factor to data capabilities.
Leutenegger also noted that the carrier was still looking at rolling out Voice over LTE services, but cautioned that the offering was still not yet ready for prime time. He explained that the biggest challenge for VoLTE remains consistent quality, which is something the carrier does not want to risk for its core voice service.
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