Mobile network developments abound this week on a global scale, with the latest in the U.S. as Verizon reveals its completed 4G wireless rollout plan across 500 markets. While this goal was expected from the carrier, its coinciding announcement of an all-VoIP phone and LTE-based small cell base stations to come in 2014 are additionally smart moves, and distinguish it from other carriers in the U.S.
VoIP poses a threat to traditional wireless carriers because users skirt voice and data charges by using VoIP-based applications such as Skype, Viber, and ooVoo. The popular texting service, WhatsApp, processes 27 billion messages a day, and boasts more users than Twitter. That is a hefty number of users using their carrier services less on a daily basis. (Although they have to use data services to communicate through applications, the number of free Wi-Fi locations continues to grow.) The appeal of VoIP expands through the U.S. as VoIP-based app usage increases. Bringing on customers to an IP-based phone network using its voice-over-LTE service will make Verizon one of the most forward-thinking mobile companies in the world.
Reports note that Verizon’s rollout runs on a frequency band that makes long-distance calls better, and the company plans on recycling its older wireless networks to bolster the use of 4G. Verizon also intends to launch LTE small cells in urban areas in order to relieve bandwidth of wireless traffic in highly populated areas — another boon for the carrier. Wireless coverage in dense cities is a significant problem for users, many of whom now have multiple devices running on carrier-based wireless. The small cells will help to manage network usage, preventing dropped calls and improving connections.
With 99% of Verizon’s network now covered by LTE, some claim the company has forsaken speed for breadth of coverage, but this notion will also be addressed with the implementation of small cells. While AT&T is considered to be Verizon’s top competitor, it only has LTE systems in 300 markets, despite having been measured as speedier. Should Verizon leverage small cell technology to improve network speed, and combine it with access to an all-IP network, it could officially reign in the future of the U.S. mobile market.