T-Mobile last month sought to undermine Verizon’s unlimited play with claims – based on the Un-carrier’s interpretation of Ookla Speedtest data – that Big Red’s download speeds dropped 14 percent after the introduction of the new plans.
“Watching what the carriers’ new unlimited plans are doing to their networks is like watching a train wreck in slow motion – emphasis on slow,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere quipped. “This is what happens when you unleash unlimited data on a network that wasn’t built to handle it.”
But Verizon sought to fire back at an analyst meeting earlier this week, which included an extensive presentation on the carrier’s network investment, planning, and performance.
Specifically addressing concerns about how Verizon’s network is performing post-unlimited introduction, Chief Network Officer Nicki Palmer said “performance since we launched unlimited on our network is exactly what we thought it would be. It’s no different than what we planned and what we’ve executed.”
Palmer spent a good portion of her speaking time refuting unfavorable speed tests, in particular targeting the kind of crowd-sourced tests cited by T-Mobile. But one of Palmer’s presumed defenses of Verizon’s performance on the speed front really sounded a little bit like a dodge around some of T-Mobile’s specific speed claims.
“Speed is important, but what we try to provide to customers and do better than anyone else is give them the speed that they need to actually perform the task that they need to perform,” Palmer said. “We look at wireless performance as a combination of coverage, reliability, and speed. It’s not just one.”
But Verizon’s SVP of Network Infrastructure Planning Ed Chan backed Palmer up, reiterating the carrier is right where it wants to be in terms of its spectrum position to serve customers.
“If you look at where we are foundationally, 98 percent of our traffic is now on LTE, and more than half of the voice traffic is now on VoLTE,” Chan said, further noting the carrier is on track with spectrum refarming efforts and is leading the push to bring large swaths of unlicensed airwaves online. “We have more than enough capacity to bring us into 4G through 2020 easily, and connecting us up into 5G.”