Feature Article

May 22, 2014

Verizon Flips the Switch on Accelerated XLTE Network

XLTE – four letters you probably never heard of until earlier this week when Verizon announced it was launching the brand name in an effort to expand bandwidth on its LTE network in 250 U.S. markets across 44 states.

Essentially XLTE is just regular LTE on new wireless spectrum that Verizon acquired a few years ago.  Devices capable of connecting to XLTE – iPhone 5s, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, Moto X and the LG 2 - can access the AWS and the 700MHz spectrum if they're within one of the markets where the service is available.  Since AWS is a new frequency band for Verizon, many of the mobile carrier's older phones will be left behind.

Verizon has stated that users of non-XLTE devices will still be able to benefit in some way from the service.  Since XLTE creates more headroom on the network, those with non-supported devices in XLTE markets can take advantage of the added capacity that the service brings to high-traffic areas, easing network congestion when mobile data use is at its highest.

“XLTE provides an even greater advantage to customers by doubling the 4G LTE bandwidth,” noted Ken Dixon, CMO at Verizon Wireless.

The XLTE upgrade rolled out to a handful of test cities last year, boosting peak speeds as high as 80 Mbps.  Sprint's newly launched Spark network reaches peak speeds of 50-60 Mbps.

Not to be left out, T-Mobile also has a 2x20 network in cities such as Las Vegas and Dallas, which uses a combination of old T-Mobile and MetroPCS spectrum. T-Mobile's recent LTE expansion is part of its "UnCarrier" move, in which the company ditched annual contracts and offered free international data roaming in an effort to help gain customers rather than lose them.

Where does this leave AT&T? The nation's second largest mobile carrier has initiatives to expand its network this year, including new 2.3GHz spectrum and carrier aggregation.

Verizon estimates 35 percent of active devices on its network will benefit from the faster service.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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