Last week, a New York native noticed a sudden drop in 3G service on his Verizon phone and, upon further researched, discovered that Verizon was testing out retiring its 3G network. While no official timeline was announced, the tests opened up a bunch of speculation. This week, Verizon has announced it has selected 10 test markets where the company will be retiring the 3G network in favor of LTE.
The tests have already begun in Manhattan and Cleveland. When pressed, VP of network operations Mike Haberman would not give out the exact cities, but did mention that the rollout to LTE will happen on PCS bands once used for Verizon's EV-DO services. Unlike in the not-so-public testing accidentally found by a resident in NYC, the exec admitted that this type of testing will be expanding to other locations as well.
Virtually all our devices now are 4G LTE. We do sell a lot of phones and people tend to upgrade their phones fairly often. If you see Apple's complete lineup, it's all 4G.
Along with these tests we'll see Verizon also testing carrier aggregation, which is the ability to combine the eventual three LTE networks' transmissions. Devices will need to be created to support the technology, but Haberman said we should expect to see those in the next year. AT&T has already implemented carrier aggregation in major cities.
Haberman also said that Verizon will be supporting EV-DO up to December 31st, 2019 at the earliest. That would probably be due to the sheer amount of flip-phones that are seen at family gatherings, as we mentioned last week on the show. That simple observation plays into the fact that lots of people still use 3G, however 80 percent of Verizon's data is running on LTE.
So while this isn't a ground-breaking announcement, it is definitely interesting to follow this story as it develops. Moving forward with wireless technology at such a rapid pace is a bold and aggressive move, but one that could really push the envelope, so long as users are able to upgrade and make the transition easily.