At the 2009 PCIA Wireless Infrastructure Show, Tony Melone, Verizon Wireless senior vice president and chief technology officer, detailed the company’s roadmap for rolling out the nation’s first 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless network. In his keynote this morning, Melone said, “The winners in the 4G world will be those companies that first, focus on their core competencies, and second, facilitate and embrace collaboration and partnering.”
Verizon Wireless’ ongoing commitment to building the best networks in the country is essential as the company rolls out its 4G LTE network. The potential devices and applications possible with 4G cannot work as intended if the network they ride on isn’t fundamentally sound.
“We can build all the bells and whistles and make lots of bold claims, but none of it will matter if the network – and all of the underlying infrastructure that supports the network – isn’t fundamentally reliable,” Melone said. “I can promise you that reliability will continue to differentiate Verizon Wireless in the marketplace. And that is also what will differentiate the suppliers we choose. There will be no substitute for good old-fashioned engineering: reliability built in at the start based on rigid engineering standards and a disciplined approach year after year will continue to be our mantra.”
Melone said that in addition to Verizon Wireless’ focus on building the most reliable next-generation 4G LTE wireless network in the country – and one of the first on the globe – it is taking a proactive approach in developing the mobile ecosystem to support it through various collaborative initiatives:
* Open Development – established to help third-party developers create and certify devices to run on the company’s network. To date, the company has certified more than 55 devices – mostly specialized machine-to-machine (M2M) units – to run on its 3G network. As a result, Verizon Wireless now has a tested and proven process to certify the multitude of specialty devices that will come as the 4G ecosystem evolves.
* Verizon LTE Innovation Center – serving as an incubator for early development of both traditional and non-traditional products for use on Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network. The company is actively working with several strategic partners to help the consumer electronics industry quickly bring products to market, helping to play the role of matchmaker between the hardware and device companies and the software and application developers.
* The Verizon Developer Community and V CAST Apps – a robust group of application developers are helping the company bring innovative applications to its customers through Verizon Wireless’ forthcoming application store. V CAST Apps will launch by the end of the year so that developers can take advantage of the company’s scale and distribution to market their applications to Verizon Wireless customers.
* Joint Innovation Lab – a member of the venture with China Mobile, Softbank and Vodafone, Verizon Wireless is at the forefront in developing a software platform that will allow developers to create their mobile applications to run seamlessly across multiple operating systems.
* Designated M2M Focus for Important Market Segments – Verizon Wireless recently formed a joint venture with Qualcomm aimed at machine-to-machine wireless services for a variety of vertical market segments, including healthcare, manufacturing, utilities, distribution and consumer products.
While pursuing these collaborative initiatives, the company remains focused on the fundamental core of its business: building the best wireless networks. Melone reiterated the company’s aggressive 4G LTE network build plan, saying Verizon Wireless plans to launch in 25 to 30 markets in 2010 and cover virtually all of its current nationwide 3G footprint with the next-generation network by the end of 2013. He noted the company’s commitment to this plan and said Verizon Wireless is exactly where it expected to be at this time.
Melone concluded, “As with previous advancements in technology, LTE promises plenty and will likely deliver even more. Now more than ever, partnership and collaboration among participants up and down the value chain will be a major factor in the growth potential of our businesses, and our industry in general. Network reliability will be as critical as ever, and Verizon Wireless intends to be at the forefront of delivering 4G to our customers.”