Verizon fighting through LTE difficulties

Verizon fighting through LTE difficulties
New technologies always seem to pose new problems and that is the case as Verizon is fighting through the struggles of LTE in an attempt to release their 4G capable handsets during the first half of the year.

The first LTE enabled smartphone to hit the Verizon network is supposed to the HTC Thunderbolt, but it has been delayed numerous times. Verizon CTO Tony Melone said that LTE handsets are still on track to be launched during the first half of the year. Here is what he had to say:

I guess our expectations change, but we had said first half of this year at CES, quite frankly, we think that exceeded people’s expectations. A year ago, people didn’t believe that there would be LTE smartphones in 2011. First half of the year is what we promised; first half of the year is still on track. So we don’t believe there are any new or surprising issues. I think what we’re facing is what you would expect, and that is a new technology, you are working through issues. And we anticipated that, and we are pleased at how we are working through issues. And as I said, you are going to see LTE smartphones on the network as promised, before the first half — before the second half of the year, by the end of the second quarter.

There should be no surprise that there are issues to work through since this is generally the case with new technology. Tell us what you think in the comments below.

source: ZDNet via Mobile Burn



1. SB311 unregistered

I hate to say it, but this does look like a a smoke screen to hide that Verizon's new relationship with Apple is causing them to push superior technology back. You are not going to see ANY new Verizon Wireless smart phones until 2012 thanks to Apple's desire to have the top spot in a carrier's lineup.

13. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Verizon rejected Apple's initial offer for the iPhone BECAUSE they didn't want any single brand or device running their show. Verizon is wise to keep pushing the Droid brand in parallel with the iPhone/iPad and in parallel with LTE. The notion that Apple's influence will keep competing LTE smartphones off the shelves is ludicrous.

15. Rejeimha

Posts: 18; Member since: Jul 29, 2010

Is this the initial offer to be Apple's exclusive carrier befor the iPhone was released on ATT? Becasue if that is what you're referring to, then check the facts. iPhone was originally made for GSM and Verizon is CDMA. It's already been reported that Verizon wasn't offered the iPhone until much later, some time after their Droid line was going strong, if I am not mistaken.

27. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Yes, it is. And while the '07 iPhone was originally GSM, they could have made it CDMA instead. Yes, that would have made it more difficult to market one for the rest of the world, but it wasn't the sole reason they chose Cingular instead. Cingular was more willing to let Apple govern software, updates, apps, downloads, etc. than Verizon. Verizon was also being cautious, as Apple was unproven in the handset world. You're right that the Apple-Verizon negotiations restarted in earnest after the Droid put up serious competition, because the fact is Apple now needs Verizon more than Verizon needs Apple.

59. lollipop

Posts: 43; Member since: Feb 15, 2011

You do realize that a single phone was the reason Verizon lost most of the quarters to At&t? They lost what? 4 quarters straight to At&t a year and now its Projected that At&t again is the number 1 carrier in the US despite the fact that Verizon absorbed another carrier and had a 10million subscriber headstart over At&t.... Also the growth of the iPhone and the profitability makes your statement absolutely absurd. There has not been one device that had near the sales numbers of the iPhone. The truth is Apple doesn't need verizon from a Profit and sales numbers. There seems to be a problem people do not realize. Just from product stand point despite Android gaining marketshare the iPhone has not slowed in growth in YoY.

64. fairly mismatched unregistered

Just to add a little perspective to your first statement... AT&T isn't really AT&T. Cingular bought AT&T but kept the moniker for name recognition. Both VZW and AT&T* obtained customers through acquisitions. Also, you are right... no single phone may ever outsell the iPhone. There are for more competitors on a much faster release cycle on the other platforms. This is neither good nor bad... just different, and depends on personal preference.

66. BaiGanyo

Posts: 308; Member since: Feb 07, 2011

i don't the iphone is best selling phone. i'd like to see where that stat came from. say best selling smart phone if that's you mean. for gods sake, do i have to make your damn argument for you? illiterate buffoon.

86. dv unregistered

If i sit back and read the speculation and different things that either of you claim as fact. I have to laugh. You both should check THE FACTS, not your facts. subscribers this subscribers that, Apple this Apple that, Business is about making money, REVENUE AND PROFIT, period. It doesn't matter what phone you have on what carrier. Verizon will always dominate in the real measure of why all of the companies in this industry are doing business. No one will every compete from a profitability stand point and that is all that matters!

53. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Apple actually rejected Verizon. Then Verizon said they wanted the iPhone and the ball was in Apple's court. Sounds like Apple had the upper hand in this one to me.

96. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

History could spin it either way. If you asked Verizon, they'd say they rejected Apple's unreasonable demands that they give up responsibility for service, updates, downloads, etc. If you asked Apple, they'd say they rejected Verizon's unreasonable demands to control software, bloatware, branding, etc. Negotiations likely fizzled on both sides, but we'll never know for sure. Despite the iPhone's continuous success, I still maintain Apple had more to gain by doubling the subscriber base than Verizon did from by offering a successful device (we'll see that play out when the iPhone 5 arrives). 2 years ago Verizon had no unique, highly successful smartphone. Android changed the story.

17. in the know unregistered

My gawd are you delusional!!....did yu forget to take your meds today? Apple is the reason but not because of their "desire to have the top spot" (I can't stop laughing at that one). Big Red has a boat load of iPhone inventory that they can't get rid of. There is a huge cost involved with keeping inventory on hand....not to mention it's effect on the financials. VZW drastically overestimated the demand for "God's Gift to Mankind" and as a result they are afraid to pull the trigger on 4G smartphones. The market has spoken and has shown they are far more educated than VZW would like to think....the "I gotta have it" mentality for an outdated, proprietary device whose iconic status is purely based on mass marketinging isn't the draw it once used to be. The launch of the HTC Thunderbolt and the Samsung Droid Charge would only further hurt suffering iPhone sales. LTE devices are already being sold by VZW.....aircards. The current crop of LTE Smartphones headed to VZW process data the same way as LTE aircards....voice is stil handled over the 1X network. There is no reason they should not function on the network simply because it's a Smartphone. VZW is simply stalling so as not to have to bring in new inventory, as well as to help thin out the million of iPhone boxes sitting in a warehouse somewhere. You should start to see devices hit by end of Q2.

48. tragichero

Posts: 163; Member since: Jan 07, 2011

i think it has to do with the transmission of 4g to 3g... at this moment when you move from a 4g area to a 3g area with a lte aircards it takes 3 to 5 minuets to swich. that means you are left with 3 to 5 minuets of time without internet. not a big deal if your not moving back and forth from 3g to 4g, but if are... its very annoying. like i said this problem will be fixed soon.... i believe that this issue on the 4g smartphones still exist and they want to fix the issue before they release the new line of jaw dropping smartphone awesomeness. as for the claim of the iphone not selling thats completelly false. not as big as expected but that is also because deals with indirect agents of verizon and apple didnt close untill late febuary. as of march 1st, the biggest retailer of verizon products (an indirect agent), gained the ability to sell the iphone. in which case sales have skyrocketed. i know because im on the front line. just wait when verizon releases the actual sales report... which is yet to be done.

56. DaveDaDude

Posts: 8; Member since: Mar 08, 2011

Are you serious with that statement? Why are you really mad, is it cause you weren't eligible for an upgrade when the IP4 landed on Verizon, because for you to make a comment as uninformed as that, that can be the only reason for it. Verizon has already stated that the IP4 was the most successful phone release they've ever had in their history, so where are you getting your facts from? If you're an Apple hater than just say so, no company is going to stop itself from making money by postponing sales of items that are ready to be sold for the sake of selling something else. Why else would carriers offer more than one phone, because they know that its different strokes for different folks. Some people only want Android and some only want Blackberry and some only want IOS.

100. in the know unregistered

20+ years in the wireless industry-carrier side, software side and hardware side……I believe I know a few things. and I feel like going off on a rant…………………. As far as Apple goes, I am not an "Apple Hater" as you suggest. In fact, I am quite impressed. They raised the bar back in 07' with a smooth, easy to ease GUI that appealed to the consumer...and all the other manufacturers have been playing catch up. What's even more impressive is the staying power they have achieved with other manufacturers and the Android OS surpassing them in terms of technology, openness, specs, customization and user experience. Apple is the “poster boy” for a Marketing Powerhouse. They don’t manufacturer any of their own hardware…they sub everything out, demand the most from their suppliers at the lowest possible prices……that’s good business. They have created a powerful brand and demand a premium price from the carriers. “The most successful product release of all time”….I beg to differ. That statement was pure PR fodder and premature on behalf of VZW. . I believe the Motorola Razr ended up selling 50 Million+ through its lifecycle at VZW. The initial on-line sales of the iPhone 4 at VZW was a success but not as big as it could have been. The VZW servers crashed, they did not run out of inventory as they stated. VZW prefers to sell devices through its on-line distribution channel (all carriers do)….the cost of acquiring a customer is far less than through traditional “brick n motor” channels such as corporate owned retail, national retail, indirect or enterprise sales. On-line sales pay no residuals or commissions. “Electronic Store Fronts” are cheap to operate…..the only additional cost is shipping to the customer which is peanuts in comparison. VZW also had a massive hiring initiative in Sept-Oct. in anticipation of the iPhone “hysteria”…more retail sales reps, more customer service reps…etc. in order to handle the anticipated foot traffic, consumer calls…..etc. As a result, expenses have increased significantly while revenues have seen a marginal bump because of lagging iPhone sales.

101. in the know unregistered

as of march 1st, the biggest retailer of verizon products (an indirect agent), gained the ability to sell the iphone. in which case sales have skyrocketed” Huh??? Indirect Agents (Not National Retail like Best Buy) do not make “deals” with Apple…they ride on the backs of the carriers. Verizon told their indirect distribution channel they would not be able to carry the iPhone until March…and that was only to their “premium agents”. Additionally they were not supposed to even have the devices on hand…they were required to use a “direct fulfillment” ordering process which would have the device shipped to the customer the next day That changed real quick due to lagging sales. Indirect Agents received iPhone inventory for March 1st availability. Additionally VZW employees were not allowed to carry an iPhone on their concession or VZW responsible lines…again to save product for the droves of paying customers. This policy was rescinded by the end of February. Don't downplay the role finance plays in product availability and pricing. The delay of LTE devices is because of the iPhone 4 inventory issue. Case in point: Recall the original Palm Pre at VZW. It launched at $199….2 weeks later it dropped to $99……2 weeks later it dropped to $49……the fastest tumble down the pricing spectrum in recent memory. Why?...VZW had 40+ weeks of aging inventory based on weekly sell through of the Palm Pre. Hell, they even added free wireless hotspot services on the device to help move it. Or how about Blackberry? Every single BB device was on the “Buy One –Get One Free” promo for close to a year to help move aging inventory. How about the Samsung Galaxy Tab? Initially launched with no subsidy at $599…lagging sales and what do you see???...prices lowered to $299 with a subsidy. Carriers are not a fan of the subsidy pricing model, but the US consumer has become accustomed to it from day one. Carriers were hoping to “wean” customers off of the concept with the introduction of the tablet form factor but that didn’t fare well. EUR and APAC markets rely far less on subsidies. Wireless carriers are seen like the cable TV companies here in the US (generally speaking). Buy your TV at full price (+20 - 30% mark-up) and bring it to your cable company for service...same concept with mobile devices overseas (again, generally speaking)

102. in the know unregistered

VZW cannot lower the price of the iPhone 4 until the launch of the iPhone 5 because of contractual obligations with Apple. Apple wants their products to be perceived as “premium” with a premium price until the launch of a newer device. (Good marketing move). Right now, based on weekly sell through, VZW will have a significant stash of iPhone 4s through the holiday selling season…and what’s more the launch of the iPhone 5 come June/July will hurt iPhone 4 sales even more. Every device that walks out of a carrier’s shop is at an initial loss….hence the reason for the commitment. Carriers typically take a $250-$300 hit on a Smartphone (Apple is on the higher end of the spectrum in terms of cost) and they monitor closely the time it takes to “break-even” on that loss….typically 6-7 months. Verizon would prefer to see every customer walking out the door with a Motorola Citrus as opposed to a iPhone…..why? Because the lost associated with a Citrus is far less than an iPhone in terms of cost and the monthly revenue is equal. Obviously VZW needs to offer higher end (and as a result more expensive) devices in order to satisfy the needs of a demanding consumer. Alas, If VZW moves a significant amount of their iPhone 4 inventory come the Aug-Sept. timeframe at a lower price their break even #s would be severely skewed….effecting the bottom line. As a result, Verizon has hammered it’s manufacturers regarding “just in time” inventory management. They want products to arrive to warehouse with less than a week’s anticipated sales and let the manufacturers carry the burden. Manufacturer’s have smartened up to this notion and generally will have a large inventory of components: screens, processors, ram….etc that are ready for final assembly as opposed to final product.. That is why you see so many devices using the same components over n over again. HTC and Samsung are infamous for this….it is a huge cost saving measure for them and you can’t blame them for it. Apple cannot do this because they sub everything out and most importantly they are a “one phone” shop.

103. in the know unregistered

It all comes down to the bottom line and earnings for the shareholders. LTE infrastructure build out is a massive initiative on Verizon’s behalf….costing billions upon billions. Do you really think it’s to give us faster speeds? Sure it gives VZW a competitive advantage in the advertising wars and hopefully more customers porting over from other carriers, but LTE adoption has far more to do with capacity than it does speed. Smartphone adoption rates are barely breaking 35% at VZW while it’s close to 60% at AT&T (because of the iPhone). More capacity means the ability to handle future growth without the fear of network issues…..just ask AT&T iPhone users in NYC from 9 months ago about network congestion. The Thunderbolt and Samsung Stealth will be here soon enough. VZW won’t risk a PR nightmare and push it off later than the end of Q2. You might even see the Thunderbolt by the end of March to help save face…..just convince your neighbor to get an iPhone. Yeah…you’re right, I am “uniformed”

104. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

Ummmm... wow.

111. tragichero

Posts: 163; Member since: Jan 07, 2011

you didnt say anything about the 3 to 5 min switch from 3g to 4g that i mentioned... that is the reason the thunderbolt hasnt been released yet. also your claim that the verizon system went down on the prerelease of the iphone is also false. they sold out the amount given for online upgrades being that at that time... the only people that could preorder were current customers. they wanted to keep the rest for new lines on the official release day...duh. your also misleading when you started talking about the razr. verizon had the largest sales in a givin day with only 2 hours of that day. thats a fact. and you are uninformed. verizon is yet to release the official sales report. in which case when they do... i expect an equal as long rant about how wrong you have been.

115. in the know unregistered

Trgichero, I made a few phone calls regarding the 3G to 4G issue you have brought up and I must admit....there is some truth to it. However, you are not going to be happy with the reason behind it. VZW is nortotious for it's product testing. Generally devices are subject to a 10-16 weeklab testing approval process... on the longer end of the time line for Smartphones. The problem again, lies with Apple. VZW requested the iPhone 4 be brought into their labs well before x-mass for testing. Apple flat out refused....claiming the need to keep their devices "secret" untill the last possible moment before launch. Fear of "spy shots"....leaking of sensitive tech specs...etc, etc, etc. As we all know, Apple counts on mystery and secrecy in order to generate "hype" and inturn, demand for their products...they are masters at it. AT&T is all too familiar with this as they only had a few weeks to test their variant and relied on claims from Apple that the voice capabilities were the same as the iPhone 3. We all know how that turned out with "antenna-gate" VZW only had the iPhone 4 "in lab" for 6 weeks prior to launch. Mangement was concerned with a possible "antenna-gate" issue of their own and devoted all of their product testing resources strictly to the iPhone prior to launch.....especially their "Drive testors" who "drive" the network with a device in order to determine reliabilty, functionality, network drain.....etc. This had a "ripple effect" on the Thunderolt. Not sure if the "3G to 4G" issue was missed or known about all along, but it certainly would have been addressed long ago if it were not for Apple and their "self absorbed" demands. The original Feb. 14th launch date was based on the date VZW got the Thunderbolt for's been delayed ever since. Now the good news is the Thundebolt is at PCD's (HTC's distibutor in the USA) warehouse being flashed with the latest software update to address the issue. You may have read about "conditional approval" in another posting. It's actually considered "Technical Approval"or TA...meaning the product folks at VZW have given the device their blessing allowing it to be used on the network. The "conditional" part was the new flash requirement. Word on the street is it may hit by 3/17, worse case end of month. I'll be in Orlando at CTIA in 2 weeks and be surprised if it's not launched by then. Now I have a feeling I'm gonna get slammed once again by all the Apple folks out there, but it's the truth.

2. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Cue Hawk crowing about "slowrizon" even though Verizon is ahead of every other U.S. carrier in even trying 4G, and Gemini talking about Apple's special something even though the first 4G devices are Android phones.

3. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

By 4g I mean LTE.

4. fleanote

Posts: 50; Member since: Jan 14, 2011

I think they're buying time. We read a month ago that Verizon was making a big push to expand its 4G towers across the land, I think they're delaying their phones to deal with that (as well as the conflicting airwave space with the miltary you've been reading about).

19. JeffdaBeat unregistered

And I think that's smart...companies seem to be so ready to preach 4G, but don't have the network to back it up. Verizon should keep doign what they do...expand the network first, release phones later...

44. beatlesfan

Posts: 150; Member since: Mar 03, 2011

Unlike AT&T who has out phones but no 4g. I laugh out loud at their commercials for the Atrix. That tom foolery my work on some consumers, but I hope not many.

60. lollipop

Posts: 43; Member since: Feb 15, 2011

At&t 4G phones aren't even 4G LTE... just HSPA+. 4G at the moment is a farce. There aren't enough markets to take advantage of a 4G device. 2012 and 2013 will be the years when 4G matters. As of right now.... 2011 4G devices are marketing schemes to make people feel that they are getting cutting edge hardware.

72. JeffdaBeat unregistered

HSPA+ is 4G according to the folks who said WiMAX and LTE were 4G. None of them follow the original definition of 4G...

116. beatlesfan

Posts: 150; Member since: Mar 03, 2011

Yeah, I know but AT&T is supposed to use LTE as their 4g now all the sudden they're calling their upgraded 3g 4g. Very confusing, and misleading to most consumers.

74. BaiGanyo

Posts: 308; Member since: Feb 07, 2011

wimax is everywhere I've been.

79. Fanboys Suck

Posts: 609; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

Go to San Diego..........

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