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.