Verizon completed a two-city test of its LTE service to the hype and hyperbole of the press, but there are still no indications of what LTE will really mean to users because its price and performance levels are not yet announced.
While LTE is theoretically capable of much higher speeds, few in the industry expect Verizon to unleash full LTE performance, and in any event, at higher speeds, users just use up their monthly cap in fewer seconds.
In our view, the primary driver behind LTE is the need to create a wireless network that’s designed primary for smartphones and netbooks, which will be more data-heavy than today’s devices, even if stringent rate limiting and pricing levels constrain user behavior. Remember, both 100 Mbps of LTE and 3 Mbps of 3G are shared among all the users in the cell, but LTE supports more users per cell than 3G. That’s what’s critical as the number of wireless devices and data-ready devices increases.
Verizon expects to have LTE rolled out nationally some time in 2013 and its first commercial services will be available in 2010.