Friday, April 17, 2009

LTE: Verizon Gets Serious

It must feel like the excitement we all get at the start of a ball game. The pregame show. The discussions among fans about matchups. All that's missing is the beer, snacks, and assortment of red meat.

Well, for Verizon's recent talk about LTE, that's what it's like because it's months away from LTE turning on LTE for testing as ATT and Verizon continue to deploy the next generation wireless data network.

Both Engadget and MacNN (Electronista) reports Verizon has unveiled the LTE specs. Verizon has earlier indicated they would have the network up and running, a few months before rival ATT. And though we have to take the word of any wireless provider with a grain of salt, well a lot of salt, this announcement comes under Verizon's Open Development Initiative (Macworld has more on that).

Remember the auction of the 700Mhz spectrum earlier this year? Well, Verizon won. And they'll be building their LTE network on it. So now, VW has issued specs for devices to run on this network. And it's not just Verizon sanctioned devices but devices that are approved. Honestly, the difference is lost on me until we get closer to game time but suffice to say, mobile warriors are expecting a completely open network.

In past year, the wireless providers have public said they want to be the gatekeepers for wireless data and that we need them to be our gatekeepers. Now, VW's LTE announcement is encouraging but we'll go through their fine print to see where they're going with this.

Another interesting note is that some believe the LTE plans wouldn't necessarily have to be linked to a voice plan. It may be pure speculation but I think wireless providers are talking note that advances in VOIP and other mobile applications and changing social behaviors of an increasing number of wireless data hungry users would require them to rethink their business model.

It may be that device exclusivity and multi-year contracts will go the way of the dinosaurs. However, as hopeful as we are at Onxo, we think that's still years away.

  • Engadget
  • Macnn
  • Macworld - to sum it up, Verizon "pledged" to allow outside devices access to its network. This means folks can bring their "pre-approved" devices and not have to suffer through any of their phones or devices.
  • Open Development - you'll need to register to see the specs. It's a PDF file you'll have to download and it's a very dry read.
Note: As all mobile warriors who read my rant knows, I try to be fair to the wireless providers but time and time again, their double-speak just irks me. One, we don't believe a word they say and, two, they think we're stupid enough to believe what they say. However, I'm willing to see how this plays out. And without Google pushing the FCC to make sure the winner of the 700Mhz spectrum would open up their network, this might not be something Verizon is talking about. Now, let's see if the rest of the industry follows.

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