Verizon Wireless is planning to simultaneously switch on its new Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile network in the US next year in as many markets as possible, according to Tony Melone, the firm’s senior vice-president and chief technology officer. Melone told Information Week that the rollout “will be as close to all-at-once as possible,” rather than the traditional method of rolling-out on a market-by-market basis. “We want to give our customers a significant footprint [and] won’t tease, them [with limited deployments]” he said. He described the move to LTE from Verizon’s existing CDMA EV-DO network as an “overlay” and not a “switchover,” noting that the new network is able to use much of the existing infrastructure of the CDMA network including towers and backhaul gear.

The operator has launched LTE network trial sites in suburban Boston and suburban Seattle, and Melone maintained that the deployment is on schedule. However, it has not given specific dates on its nationwide deployment, pledging only that it will happen in 25 to 30 US markets next year. It will seek to have the service available for some 100 million POPs (points of presence) in 2010 and continue to deploy the network over the next two and three years. Melone said that existing Verizon Wireless users will be able to continue to use their current devices after LTE is commercially launched.