Verizon Wireless plans LTE trial for next year

Move makes the carrier's 4G direction official

Verizon Wireless today picked Long Term Evolution (LTE) as its fourth-generation wireless technology, and said it would start trials next year.

Company officials have been suggesting this direction for two months or longer, but made it official today, a spokesman said.

Provisioning for LTE expands on Tuesday's news of an open-access Verizon Wireless network that will have the capacity to handle new devices and applications, company spokesman Tom Pica added. "It's like the couple that assumes they are getting married until one of them actually pops the question," Pica said.

A coordinated trial plan for LTE will begin in 2008, with a number of trial suppliers, including Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia Siemens and Nortel Networks, the company said. Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone jointly own U.S-based Verizon Wireless, with nearly 64 million customers.

LTE, which is based on IP, is designed to provide download speeds of 100Mbit/sec. and uploads speeds half as fast, according to a variety of analysts and sources. The spokesman said the speeds would range in the 10s of Mbit/sec. Currently, Verizon uses CDMA and EV-DO networks.

Vodafone today also said it is conducting a joint engineering trial of LTE, which it would build atop its third-generation high-speed packet access network technology. In September, Vodafone said it could offer LTE commercially in 2010, but that a common platform with Verizon might not happen until 2015.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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