According to Verizon CTO Nicola Palmer, the company's gargantuan hoard of AWS spectrum will be put to use beginning this summer as part of the carriers' ever-growing LTE network.

Spectrum isn't the world's most exciting topic, but if you're concerned about making an informed choice when you choose your carrier, it's definitely the kind of news you should be looking out for. Verizon currently operates its LTE network exclusively on Band 13 (in the 700MHz range), a band it controls nationwide. That has allowed Verizon to very rapidly and effectively deploy its LTE network - a deployment it expects to complete this summer, putting Verizon literally years ahead of the competition.

The AWS band (aka Band 4) is part two of Big Red's LTE blitzkrieg, and will help to form the "data backbone" of its high-speed network in densely populated areas. Verizon hopes to have 5000 AWS-enabled LTE sites good to go by the end of this year.

So, if you're trying to figure what that means, let me put it this way: everyone else is currently building out LTE coverage in the USA. Verizon has basically finished the whole coverage part, and by mid-year will be working on making that network more robust and powerful. So, while T-Mobile is trying to get LTE outside of three cities, and Sprint is counting small towns among its LTE coverage victories, Verizon is shoring up its coverage bulwark. Yikes. The only one even close is AT&T, and even Ma Bell is struggling to solve the nationwide LTE coverage calculus necessary to compete with Verizon.

Palmer also stated that a number of upcoming handsets set to be released on Verizon in the first half of this year will ship AWS LTE-enabled (along with the standard 700MHz support). Say what you will about their prices, data plans, and device locking policies - Verizon is clearly the place to be for raw speed and coverage.

FierceWireless via TheVerge

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Ivan Myring

    Who gives a shit?!
    There's a new pope

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      But does he have LTE?

      • madmike318

        so, for example, a Razr can not connect to the AWS LTE?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          Nope, it cannot. It doesn't support the proper radio bands. Neither does the pope.

          • http://twitter.com/ShaneJax Shane Jackson

            Be careful making fun of the Pope before he relocates a molester to a Diocese near you!

          • Scott


          • madmike318

            you just ruined my day David!

          • New_Guy

            Neither does the Pope receive updates very often. 20 year turnaround...Get it together, Verizon =o!!!

      • Ivan Myring

        Hell yeah!

    • Scott

      That's one of the most worthless people in the entire world.

      • Scott

        Downvote me, I don't even care.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1312291338 Tim Miller

    Verizon could offer free daily foot rubs and I still wouldn't pay their ridiculous prices ever again. Prepaid GSM going on a year now and couldn't be happier.

    • madmike318

      you kid yourself. i still have unlimited data (purchased friends upgrade for $50) and me and my wife spend 140 / month. from my house i get 30mbps download and at least 10mbps upload over LTE in middle of corn land Indiana.... hows your 1x?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1312291338 Tim Miller

        I get 5-6mbps everywhere I go with an AT&T MVNO. It actually has signal in rural areas of IL that were dead on Verizon, though that's not the norm of course. LTE, at least here, is bogged down to about the same speeds due to too many users. I'm not really missing out. Besides, I don't torrent on my phone, and if I did, I'd use my 50mbps home WiFi or 150+mbps work WiFi (fiber line).

        I pay $45 for my phone, and $30 for the fiance's on T-Mobile's 5gb plan. I was doing both of us on T-Mobile's $30 plan, but I need more and more minutes for work these days, plus AT&T has superior HSPA+ rural coverage for sure.

        No tax if paid online. $75 total for 2 phones. So, my "1x" is doing just fine, thanks for asking! But, hey, use whatever works for you. I for one will take my significantly cheaper bill and pocket that extra money each month.

        • Asphyx

          You don't go very far and wide if you get service wherever you go....

          I remember when the iPhone first came out and I asked someone who had one how is the phone on calls....
          He replied he doesn't really get calls just notification of them which he can return when he finds a service area.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1312291338 Tim Miller

            The iPhone first came out in June of 2007. That's almost six years ago. You're out of your goddamn mind if you think ANY carrier hasn't significantly upgraded their network in the last six years.

            Coverage maps are accurate for the big 4 carriers. Look at them. If you truly don't have coverage with anyone but Verizon, that's great, but you are NOT the norm. Advertising statistics claiming 99% of America is covered aren't just for ... advertising, they're true. Farmer Joe may not have signal on X or Y carrier, but everyone else does.

      • Andy_in_Indy

        T-Mobiles service in Indianapolis is pretty good, too. However, You will still lose 3G data frequently along I-65 travelling between Indy and Chicago. I still stick with Verizon as my primary phone because I get better coverage and sound quality, even in rural areas, but the other networks are getting better out here.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1312291338 Tim Miller

          Yeah, if you travel out of the city a lot, an AT&T MVNO's SIM would be superior. I'll be the first to say T-Mobile's rural coverage sucks hairy nuts. One heck of a deal if you're a city dweller, though.

      • http://twitter.com/s99nj S. Ali

        Heh, I get the same speed any pay $89 on t-mobile for THREE lines, and I have REAL unlimted data, hows it feel to be Verizon's bitch?

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

          FYI, those of us who haven't signed a new contract with VZW still have REAL unlimited data.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1312291338 Tim Miller

            You have a year tops left of enjoying that. Once the final unlimited contract has reached its end of life in 2014, Verizon will most likely cap everyone. I can't say that for certain, but it's extremely likely based on their current plans.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

            What are you basing that on? My contract ran out almost two years ago.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1312291338 Tim Miller

            In Q1 (?) of 2012, Verizon stopped allowing people to keep unlimited data on upgrades - forcing people to pay full retail for it and go monthly. On that same date of 2014, the last official unlimited data "contract" will be over, and Verizon will have no obligation whatsoever to keep any of these unlimited data plans. Like it or not, once you're not on a contract, Verizon can change your terms with no notice on a whim. Look it up - it's going to happen. They're just waiting to do it to everyone at once.

            Sorry, I can't remember the exact date off the top of my head.

          • Blake Ourso

            Or you can be smart and avoid the upgrade force change of contract.

            I have a Family Share plan, the old school one. The main line is my Android phone...which has evolved since the 'upgrade unlimited data gate' days. My 2nd line is a dumb phone with no features etc. it's 10$ a month flat. It is regulated on the new data rules, but i do not use data on it so I do not care.

            What I do, instead, is this; When my main line is due for an upgrade, I transfer the upgrade to the 2nd line. I then upgrade the 2nd line's phone to whatever smartphone I want. It then immediately changes the features/plan of the 2nd line. I then remove the newly purchased upgrade device from the 2nd line and transfer the dumb phone back to it, reducing the cost and features to the 10$ a month plan. I then take that unused phone (my new upgrade phone) and simply activate it on my main line, which has 30$/month unlimited data, 400 minutes, and 1000 texts a month (I use Google Voice for texts, mainly).

            Thus, I get upgrades and keep my unlimited data. Also, this way, I get yearly upgrades. Not only do I keep my unlimited data, but I still participate in the Yearly Upgrade program that no longer exists, but it costs me 120$ a year heh.

            Seeing as I use roughly 5 gigs a month, I come out way ahead in the end and I pay 115 a month for the total Family Share plan.

            So, good luck Verizon at getting me to ever lose my grandfathered unlimited data plan. The day they FORCE me out of it, is the day I leave Verizon for T-Mobile and a cheap nexus device. Until then, I'm enjoying my awesome LTE speeds and Coverage ;)

          • Droid 1967

            I would love nothing more than verizon to take it away form everyone all at once if they were to take it away. As i would love to see the stock drop due to 100,000 cancellations in a short period of time. Temporary drop most likely but would be nice to see. and unfortunately it may be the only thing that will cause Verizon to pull the head of their asses!

        • Paul Kopalek

          I use 95GB on Verizon last month on one handset.

          If I paid (their cheapest) full price for that much data instead of the unlimited plan, it would cost me $1,130.

          • Jonathan Isenberg

            Here I thought that the 12GB I used every month was bad...

            They actually called me to try and get me to switch. I forced them to look up my usage history while I was on the phone, made them do the math on how much it would cost me, and then made them admit that they were trying to sell me a bad deal. I then hung up the phone.

            They haven't called back since.

  • deltatux

    No carriers in Canada have finished their LTE rollout. Heck, some carriers are still running HSPA+. Luckily all but one carrier is using GSM technology instead of CDMA unlike some of the US carriers.

  • zarlwilliam

    years ahead.. yet Sprint is already positioning itself for TD-LTE rollout...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Positioning itself sounds so convincing and having of real-world implications.

      • NiteSnow

        Sprint is waiting on the ClearWire deal to go through. Once Sprint purchases them they will have 160MHz of spectrum on average nationwide that they can and will deploy LTE-Advanced on.

    • Scott

      Sprint is always "positioning itself" but they never deliver.

      • Will B

        You can't even play if your not in position

      • kamiller42

        Sprint LTE drenched in my metro area, i.e. they delivered here.

    • NYCHitman1

      OP is a tool.

      • NiteSnow

        Thank you for your useless generic commentary. I'm sure you picked that up in first grade.

  • br_hermon

    "Say what you will about their prices, data plans, and device locking policies - Verizon is clearly the place to be for raw speed and coverage." You forgot to mention update processes ;)

    Sadly, almost disgustingly,... but how so very true. :/

  • BigMixxx

    I KNEW Verizon was doing something strange. KNEW it. KNEW It, KNEW It, KNEW IT.

  • http://twitter.com/s99nj S. Ali

    For some reason AP staff loves shilling for Verizon.....I wonder why? You couldn't pay me to use Verizon, I'd rather have edge and a single bar of service than give them money. What happened to Americans, they have become so damn apathetic forgetting all the terrible things that company has done.

    • Freak4Dell

      Cry me a river.

    • WiWavelength

      Agreed. This "article" reads more like an advertisement or press release for VZW than it does a piece of real journalism. It sings the praises but fails to note several important shortcomings of the VZW LTE rollout.

      One, VZW is not deploying LTE on every site, so that expedites its coverage expansion but compromises its capacity. Indeed, VZW LTE is already bogging down considerably in markets around the country.

      Two, VZW's band 13 LTE 750 infrastructure is not using remote radios and is stuck at Release 8, while AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile are using Release 10 capable remote radios. So, that VZW head start on LTE does not look so attractive a few years later.

      Three, no current VZW handsets support band 4 (AWS) LTE 2100+1700. Thus, millions of VZW subs who have recently upgraded to a Droid DNA or iPhone 5, for example, will be stuck on the increasingly slowing band 13 LTE 700 overlay until their next upgrade.


      • John O’Connor

        Well if it isn't AJ to the rescue!

    • Matthew Fry

      Uh... Getting LTE coverage nationwide is pretty big. Adding to it afterward is big. I'm not going to use Verizon cause they literally cost twice as much as T-Mobile, but if I had more money... ok I still wouldn't get Verizon. Regardless, it's an achievement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

    Unfortunately, this article is accurate. If I felt like I could get the same quality service from anyone else, I would happily leave the Evil Red Empire.

  • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

    Let's hope that the X-phone rumors are real and we can buy it off-contracted, with an unlockable bootloader (for a fee), at a price near the Nexus 4.

  • Freak4Dell

    What this article means to me is that the phone lineup for T-Mobile just got bigger. Phones with GSM and AWS LTE radios? Yes, please!

  • Luisito Mercado

    I dont wanna imagine what prices will be like for their plans XD

  • Asphyx

    Well at least they are doing something with all the money they charge us! LOL

    It's why they get away with whatever they try to get away with...

    They say yuou don't like it go somewhere else and when you check coverage on everyone else in most cases it says 2G only or your just on the fringe of reception.

    They do what they do because they know they are in most cases the only netowrok that works outside of a city.

  • peterfares

    Wow, T-Mobile customers are going to have a huge selection of unlocked LTE phones once their LTE network is up. T-Mobile's LTE network will exclusively run on band 4 while they're switching their UMTS network to 1900MHz. All AT&T phones support LTE on band 4 and 17 and UMTS on 1900MHz, and many support UMTS on 1700MHz.
    Now all of Verizon's new LTE phones will support LTE on band 4 and most will also support UMTS on 1900MHz and maybe even 1700MHz.

  • bobododo

    Remember that Verizon has no choice but to be on the forefront of LTE since their existing CDMA data network is so antiquated. AT&T and T-Mobile on the other hand have HSPA deployed on their networks, which gives them more of a "breathing room" on implementing LTE.

  • Paul Kopalek

    Of which you can't use more than a few GB cost-effectively.

    They just want to build their profit-reaping empire. Fuck Verizon.

  • John O’Connor

    Who says AT&T has great 4g coverage? They seem to be lagging according to Sensorly. But then again that would require AT&T users to utilize the app

  • StevieO

    I just inked a two year contract to get a new DROID DNA which apperantly does not support the AWS band. WTF?? The phone is certified for 100/50 Mb/s down/up but not band 4?? That's horse shit man!!! There is no reason why Verizon's 700Mhz band shouldn't be running at the true "4G" standard.

    • NiteSnow

      They deployed old hardware which won't let them do a simple software upgrade to LTE-Advanced. Have fun with your new 2 year contract on a crowded, and aging network.

  • Mel Martin

    Small towns haha what rock u been under dude smh sprint has working lte in all the MAJOR city's including mine which is Chicago. Including Baltimore NYC atl and Texas do some FUCKIN research clown sprint is doing its thing.

  • Kumquat

    This is so awesome - with faster speeds, I'll hit my data cap sooner and then I can pay Verizon more money!