Verizon has announced that it has completed live data calls over its LTE test networks in Boston and Seattle using commercial basestation equipment with prototype devices.
Speeds achieved during the test were not revealed with speeds expected to range between 7-12 Mbps down and 3-5 Mbps up, making it comparable to current WiMax deployments. Verizon is deploying LTE service based on the recently frozen and nearly ratified 3GPP Release 8 standard.
Verizon is relying on Alcatel-Lucent in Boston, Ericsson in Seattle, Starent Networks and Nokia Siemens Networks for network equipment with prototype devices from LG and Samsung used for the trial. Devices from LG and Samsung will be supplemented by devices from ST-Ericsson, Motorola and Qualcomm while Boston and Seattle each now have 10 active LTE cellsites.
Verizon CTO Tony Melone also went into further detail regarding the trials, stating that the carrier is positioned to follow through on previous statements of launching 30 markets commercially in 2010 while continuing EVDO deployments well into the launch of LTE service.
As far as the types of devices being offered, Melone has emphasized data cards for launch due to the lack of standardization on a voice protocol along with the issue of 911 call handling as LTE is a flat IP based network standard with no circuit switched component for voice call routing and handling.