Friday, September 21, 2007

Verizon Wireless to join Vodafone in upgrade to LTE

Verizon Wireless and Vodafone Group plc will both use Long Term Evolution technology as the 4G evolution path for their respective networks, according to remarks by company executives this week.

Arun Sarin, CEO of Vodafone, and Verizon Communications Inc. chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg, spoke about the technology choice at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference yesterday. Vodafone and Verizon control Verizon Wireless through a joint venture.

Sarin laid out a path toward LTE evolution within the next three to four years. Vodafone relies on GSM- and HSPA-based technology for wireless high-speed data access in its properties abroad, while Verizon Wireless—45% owned by Vodafone—is a CDMA operator whose most recent network upgrade has been to EV-DO Revision A.

The news marks a serious setback for CDMA backers, as Verizon Wireless is one of the world’s largest supporters of the technology. Indeed, the news puts Ultra Mobile Broadband—which is Rev. C on the CDMA network-upgrade path—into question, as no operator has yet publicly voiced intentions to move toward the technology.