Verizon Repurposing Some of its 3G Networks For LTE

by Istvan Fekete on December 4, 2014

Verizon has started reframing its old CMDA EV-DO systems for LTE, taking the first steps toward what essentially means the death of 3G. In fact, the carrier has already launched two distinct LTE networks, so this will be the third.

What makes the difference compared to the first two 4G LTE networks is that the third will repurpose the spectrum Verizon already uses. The change was noticed by Gigaom’s (favourite) network spotter Milan Milanovic, who discovered LTE in Manhattan on a Nexus 5, a device not supported by Verizon, because it doesn’t work over its primary 4G network. He then tested it – for the sake of science – on a Samsung Galaxy S4, as well.

What he noticed was the 1980 MHz/1990 MHz chunk of spectrum that was traditionally part of Verizon’s 3G EV-DO network had been turned on, which is interesting, because the carrier shut them down last month. Interestingly, this week those airwaves have been showing LTE instead of CMDA signals, he notes.

When contacted regarding the matter, Verizon spokeswoman Debra Lewis confirmed to GigaOm that the carrier is indeed testing LTE on the PCS band, though she didn’t go into details such as locations or timing for a commercial launch.

She also pointed to previous Verizon announcements in which the company said it would repurpose a portion of its 3G bandwidth for LTE next year.

Currently, about 80% of Verizon’s mobile traffic goes though LTE, but roughly 41% – or 40 million – of the total mobile devices incorporate only 2G or 3G radios. In other words, there is a long way to go until we can talk about the death of 3G. However, with the recent product launches and promotional offers, the carrier is helping to speed up the process.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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