Since Verizon Wireless activated its 4G service back in 2010, it has already launched a couple of distinct LTE networks. But now, it looks like the carrier is preparing to launch a third one.
While the first two LTE networks are utilizing virgin airwaves, the new network will instead be making use of the Verizon's old CDMA EV-DO systems for PCS spectrum. This could mean the slow and inevitable extinction of 3G.
As reported by Gigaom, a certain network spotter named Milan Milanovic had discovered Verizon's new LTE network when he connected to it using a Nexus 5 and a Samsung Galaxy S4. The 1980 MegaHertz/1990 MegaHertz cluster of frequencies is normally part of Verizon's 3G EV-DO network, but as Milanovic has discovered last month, it has been deactivated.
Thankfully, Milanovic is the type of guy who goes around carrying an industrial spectrum analyzer. And apparently this week, he has noticed that those supposed-to-be empty airwaves are now turned on, but with LTE instead of CDMA signals. Milanovic further claims that he has detected Verizon LTE in the PCS band all over Manhattan, but none in other New York boroughs like Queens or Brooklyn.
Milanovic says the transmit power is rather faint and the Internet speeds he is experiencing are still very slow, which suggests that the carrier is still testing the new network. Interestingly, there also reports of LTE being detected on Verizon's PCS band in the city of Cleveland in Ohio.
As for Verizon, a representative has confirmed that the carrier is in fact testing LTE on the PCS band. The Verizon rep, however, did not provide any specifics regarding the location.
Verizon has hinted before that it might be re-using its 3G bandwidth for LTE sometime in 2015. Right now, an estimated 80 percent of the carrier's mobile data uses LTE, but around 41 percent of the total number of Verizon devices (roughly equivalent to 40 million) only possess 2G or 3G radios. This means that in the immediate future, Verizon may still need to retain minimal EV-DO capacity online in order to support these 2G/3G-compatible devices.
Verizon still uses 2G as its main voice network, but eventually the carrier will start shifting most of its voice traffic into the new voice over LTE (VoLTE) network. It is far from being the end of 3G (for now), but we could be witnessing the start of a new era, wherein 3G is no longer the primary choice of network technology.
Wirefly Is America's Most Trusted Source For All Cell Phones, Plans, TV, and Internet Deals
Wirefly offers great deals on a large selection of smartphones, cell phones, tablets, mobile hotspots, and other wireless devices for the nation's most popular carriers. Use Wirefly’s innovative cell phone and plan comparison tools to ensure you are getting the best deal on the market. Shop with confidence knowing that Wirefly wants to help you find the best prices on cell phones, cell phone plans, TV, and Internet service.