Verizon recently announced an upgrade to its LTE infrastructure that will benefit pretty much everyone. The cell company is calling this XLTE, and it will utilize the AWS spectrum to provide more bandwidth to customers. This means faster download speeds and fewer dropped calls, and we don’t know anyone who would complain about this.
Verizon’s 4G LTE network is arguably the most extensive in the country, but many busy areas still can’t keep up with activity. That’s where XLTE will be a life-saver. Verizon never wants companies to experience slower speeds just because a popular event is happening or they live in a big city said Jason Hope.
And Verizon customers don’t necessarily have to do a thing to get the benefit from this expansion. According to the company, several devices are already able to take advantage of the AWS spectrum. These include the Samsung Galaxy S4, S5 and Note 3, the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s, and several of the newer devices in the DROID lineup. When Verizon turns on XLTE in certain cities, devices that are able to use the newly-added bandwidth will do so, providing relief to users whose devices are only compatible with traditional LTE.
According to Verizon, there’s no XLTE indicator like there is between LTE and 3G. If your phone is using the XLTE band, you won’t even notice. That’s on purpose — Verizon wants users to have as seamless transition as possible.
XLTE puts Verizon well ahead of the competition, including Sprint, which is still rolling out 4G LTE in major American markets. While Verizon was busy building LTE towers, Sprint was focusing on “faux” 4G, known as WiMax. This put the CDMA carrier behind. However, Sprint eventually realized how grave an error this was, and the cell company decided to fast-track a plan for implementing true 4G, or LTE. In just two years, the company has created LTE infrastructure in nearly 500 cities in the United States.
Since then, Sprint has started building Sprint Spark, which adds more bands to the carrier’s existing LTE network just like Verizon is doing with XLTE. Sprint currently has released Spark to about 20 markets, and the company plans to expand to 80 more within the next three years, so Verizon will have to keep up if Big Red wants to remain the sole cell superpower in the USA.
As of July 2014, neither AT&T nor T-Mobile have expanded their LTE markets the way the other two companies have. T-Mobile has focused on a variety of mergers, including a failed merger with AT&T and a successful takeover of regional carrier MetroPCS. There are even rumors of T-Mobile joining forces with Sprint, which successfully merged with Japanese telecom company SoftBank last summer.
This may have contributes to Sprint’s exponential growth over the past twelve months. While the company once lagged behind, both in coverage and devices, this is no longer the case. Of course, there is only so many spectra available, and with Verizon claiming the AWS spectrum, the competition will have to look elsewhere.