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Verizon: LTE Ahead Of Schedule, VoLTE Due in ’13

San Diego — Verizon Wireless is ahead of schedule in its 4G LTE rollout by more than two months and will launch its 400th LTE market on Oct. 18, and is on the way to bringing 4G speeds to its entire 3G footprint by the end of 2013, Verizon Wireless VP/chief technical officer Nicola Palmer announced.

She also said Verizon expects to launch Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology at the end of 2013 to deliver HD-quality voice calls and what she called “rich communications services.”

“We’re deploying all the necessary infrastructure” for it, she said in a presentation here at CTIA’s MobileCON convention.

Palmer said a total of 21 markets will launch with LTE on Oct. 18, to bring the number of 700MHz 4G markets to more than 410.

To keep up with LTE data demand, Palmer also said the carrier would begin in mid- to late 2013 to activate LTE in its 1.7/2.1GHz Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) band to “add depth and longevity” to its LTE network. Technical trials are already underway, she said.

Handsets and other devices that operate in LTE mode in the AWS band will also become available next year, she said.

Also to keep up with data demand, Verizon is “looking forward to employing elements of LTE-Advanced” along with other techniques, such as adding small cell sites to handle traffic in hot spots in dense urban areas, she said.

The company launched its first 38 LTE markets in December 2010. About 11 million of the carrier’s postpaid customers are on the LTE network, which carries more than 35 percent of the carrier’s data traffic. That percentage will grow to more than 50 percent in a few months, she said.

 The more than 400 markets online on Oct. 18 reach more than 260 million people, the company previously said. Verizon’s 3G footprint reaches 290 million people.