Verizon Wireless is taking its 4G LTE network and offering the service to residential subscribers in lieu of FiOS access in a new service debuting this month known as Verizon Wireless Home Fusion. The service will initially be offered in select markets such as Birmingham, Alabama, Dallas, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee with the goal of making a broadband option available to areas without access to high-speed fixed line broadband options such as cable, DSL or Verizon’s own FiOS service.
The service consists of a Cantenna, mounted outside the home at its highest point, modified with multiple internal antennae to increase indoor reception and will be installed at no charge, while the equipment cost will be set at $199.99. The actual installation will be handled through Asurion while Verizon will also provide the router which will allow for four wired connections and up to 20 wireless connections via Wi-Fi.
Pricing for the offering is set at three tiers, with plans starting at $59.99 for 10GB of access, 20GB of data for $89.99 per month, or $120 per month for 30GB of data and all have an overage rate of $10/1GB past each respective allowance. Interestingly, in an earnings call held yesterday describing the service, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo described the Cantenna being used for the service being more efficient in terms of spectrum usage compared to current LTE mobile broadband hardware such as the MiFi-alike devices and other modem/router combinations offered by the carrier.
Verizon makes no secret of the fact that its short-term goals all revolve around the rapid expansion of its LTE network, as it seeks to acquire as much spectrum as possible in order to quickly ramp up and deploy the network in as many locations as possible. With the addition of the HomeFusion service, it’s also seeking to target its LTE network to those looking for a more reliable and less costly alternative to satellite broadband access, such as those living outside of city limits or newly developed suburban divisions that haven’t had cable/DSL/FiOS infrastructure deployed.
What remains to be seen is how the LTE network will handle the expected influx of customers as the network has had recent issues with stability and occasional throttling, culminating in multiple outages for both 3G and 4G data access. With the expected heavier traffic from home users, it also remains to be seen whether Verizon will implement some sort of priority system for home and mobile users to ensure that the cellsites won’t be oversaturated, as experienced by Clearwire users before a similar system was implemented last year, with its own set of issues.
However, it is clear that Verizon’s Home Fusion does also fill a need that few other companies can fill at this present time at a such a low cost. AT&T has yet to offer its own residential LTE alternative despite having its own network, although it may be that they are relying more heavily on U-Verse and DSL for residential options instead of offering LTE for residential customers.