Growing Data Demands Are Trouble For Verizon, LTE Capacity Nearing Limits



In a filing made to the FCC in support of Verizon’s planned $3.9 billion purchase of nationwide AWS spectrum licenses held by SpectrumCo, Big Red’s executive director of network strategy Bill Stone said that Verizon’s current spectrum holdings do not provide enough capacity to meet growing 4G demands, in some places hitting full capacity by 2013. More places will hit capacity by 2015.
Our usage projections suggest that traffic on our LTE network will surpass data usage on our EV-DO network in early 2013. By year-end 2015 our LTE data traffic is projected to be 5 times the peak data traffic ever carried on our 3G EV-DO network. The impact of that growth rate compounds, resulting in a more than 20-fold increase in LTE data traffic from year-end 2011 to year-end 2015.
Currently, only 5 percent of Verizon’s customers use LTE, but the company is trying to migrate as many customers to LTE as possible. Even though Verizon is trying to move more users to their LTE network, their EV-DO network is not seeing a drop in usage either. Stone stated:
…overall traffic continues to increase on the EV-DO network even as some customers migrate to the LTE network. Thus while traffic is migrating to LTE, spectrum deployed for EV-DO is not fallow, but is filled by the growing data demands of remaining users. Put another way, customers are not yet moving to LTE fast enough to stop, and reverse, EV-DO traffic growth.

To try to alleviate the growing problem, Verizon will be deploying LTE small cells and femtocells to increase capacity, but no time frame was given. This FCC filing is made to convince regulators to approve its purchase of additional AWS spectrum (much to T-Mobile’s dismay), and to that end, Bill Stone argued “…while femtocells provide some congestion relief, they will never be able to meet the skyrocketing demand that I detailed above, because they offload only a small fraction of a sector’s traffic.


Verizon currently owns 20 MHz of AWS spectrum, mainly covering the Eastern United States. But Stone states that “… technology advancements we will deploy in the network, along with use of the AWS spectrum we currently hold, are insufficient to meet future demand, and additional spectrum is required.


The “not enough spectrum” argument is exactly what AT&T was using in its bid to buy out T-Mobile. It didn’t work out so well for them, but let’s see if Verizon is more successful.

Source: Talk Android