Verizon Eyeing Global LTE Roaming Partners For Canadian And Western European Markets.

  • November 21, 2011 12:09 pm

LTE is a GSM based technology meaning (in theory) we should be able to roam amongst LTE networks across the country, and on a larger scale, the world. Unfortunately things aren’t so easy. The various LTE markets popping up around the globe are making use of an increasingly diverse number of frequencies, meaning hardware support has to added by way of additional radios. It doesn’t take a genius to then realize that only so many radios can be crammed into a phone. With that said, certain carriers/frequencies are close enough that true LTE roaming will be possible.

Verizon is looking to finally enter the world of GSM/LTE roaming as made evident by a new job posting seeking a “Manager of Global LTE Roaming”, specifically singling out Canadian and European markets. But before you go jumping for joy at the thought of real LTE roaming, we most point out that any actual LTE roaming agreements won’t reach the end user until late-2012/early-2013…

Currently Canadian carriers are deploying LTE on the 2.1 GHz band, though according to Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement, a late-2012 auction will possibly allow carriers to move LTE to the much better (and similar to VZW in the U.S.) 700 MHz band. Meanwhile overseas in Europe, carriers are settling on an LTE standard spread across the 800 MHz spectrum. According to Light Reading’s editor Dan Jones, the closeness in the European 800 MHz and U.S. 700 MHz bands should be close enough to allow compatibility for roaming purposes.

Canadian/European network differences aside, it’s worth noting that even here at home in the U.S. Verizon Wireless and AT&T LTE customers aren’t currently able to roam between each others LTE network despite sharing the same 700 MHz band.

In short: LTE roaming is finally getting closer to reality. Unfortunately, it will take at least a couple more years longer than we (and probably countless others) would have liked.

Via: LightReading


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