Verizon Wireless is dipping into PCS spectrum previously used for 3G operations and deploying LTE on the airwaves. The switchover, which was first spotted in Manhattan, will initially hit 10 different markets, according to Gigaom.
Verizon Vice President of Network Operations Mike Haberman didn’t specify which markets would see the switch—though Gigaom’s report mentions Cleveland, Ohio as one—but he did say the changes are spurred by the increase of 4G handsets on Verizon’s network.
A Verizon spokesperson confirmed that refarming PCS for LTE was always the plan but Haberman, according to Gigaom, said Verizon will continue to support 3G EV-DO on PCS spectrum until the end of 2019.
BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk noted the early onset of the carrier’s gradual 3G sunset shows an urgent demand for spectrum and could be part of the reason the FCC’s AWS-3 auction has climbed past $41 billion in bids. Verizon—along with AT&T, T-Mobile and Dish Network—is qualified to bid in the auction, but results are anonymous until the auction concludes so it’s unclear how much participants are spending.
In addition to the refarming of its PCS spectrum Verizon is also planning some LTE-Advanced features for its network in 2015. Phone Scoop reports that Verizon will begin using carrier aggregation to pair its 700 MHz and AWS LTE deployments, allowing the carrier to offer up 30×30 MHz channels. According to the report, Haberman said the technology will raise LTE peak speeds but likely not impact average speeds. Verizon also intends to use eICIC to minimize interference between macrocells and small cells as well as potentially put 4×4 MIMO technology into its towers.