Making his first appearance at the GSMA Mobile World Congress, the CTO of Verizon Communications, Dick Lynch, announced the company’s LTE deployment plans and which network equipment vendors have been selected – something the mobile industry has been eagerly awaiting. Having conducted – in conjunction with Vodafone – three trials of LTE over a 12 month period, Verizon Wireless has chosen Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson as winners of its all important RAN contract. The move is a serious boost to both vendors, in particular its incumbent supplier Alcatel-Lucent which has recently undergone a strategy revamp following eight consecutive quarterly losses. Existing incumbent supplier Nortel – which recently entered bankruptcy protection – has been cold-shouldered. In addition to Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, Lynch also announced that Starent Networks will be a packet core network supplier. Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel Lucent will be the key suppliers of IMS kit.
The deployment of LTE is expected to make Verizon Wireless the first operator worldwide to commercially launch the next-generation technology. Verizon made waves last year when it initially revealed it would move from its 3G CDMA network over to LTE, a member of the GSM family of technologies. According to Lynch, deployment will take place after further trials this summer using 700MHz spectrum expected to be freed up in June from the switchover from analogue to digital TV in the US. Commercial services are expected to be launched next year. Without naming the actual deployment locations, the Verizon CTO said that 20 to 30 markets in the US would have LTE coverage in 2010. “After 2010, we will begin a process of providing coverage of the entire US by 2015.” While not detailing the financial outlay involved with this huge deployment, Lynch said that Verizon invested around US$17 billion each year and didn’t expect this to change.