Thursday, July 21, 2011

Locking In To An LTE Provider

has an interesting post over at titled Verizon Reserving Its Phones for Its Own Network?

In the post, Amrisa speculates that Verizon Wireless is designing its phones so they will only run on the Verizon Wireless network. Bhagwandin also speculates AT&T may end up doing the same. Here's some of the technical details:

The Verizon Wireless and AT&T 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks run on different frequency bands:

  • Verizon Wireless runs in the 746-787 MHz band
There is some slight overlap between the two bands but there is not enough overlap for devices to run on each others networks. It's also important to remember the 4G conversion is not going to be like throwing a switch. Tower antennas will be gradually updated from 3G to 4G. This means 4G phones  have both 3G and 4G radios in them - the 4G radio is used when 4G service is available and the 3G radio is used when 4G service is not available. This fallback also causes a problem. In locations where 4G service is not available, Verizon phones will fall back on the Verizon wireless CDMA 3G network and AT&T phones will fall back on the AT&T HSPA/GSM 3G network.

And..... it gets even more complicated - both Verizon Wireless and AT&T both own spectrum through MetroPCS and Bhagwandin thinks we'll see both companies setting up sales through MetroPCS to try and lock customers into their networks . In addition, we may see similar deals being made with Lightsquared and Cricket since both of these companies are developing their own 4G networks.

I'm in wait-and-see mode right now and not going to lock into any new long term wireless contracts until I get a better idea of how it is all going to shake out.

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