Verizon CTO: We're working through LTE smartphone issues

Verizon CTO: We're working through LTE smartphone issues

Summary: Tony Melone, Verizon's chief technology officer, said Monday that its 4G Long Term Evolution smartphones are on track to be launched in the first half and that the company is working through the issues of launching devices on new technology.

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Tony Melone, Verizon's chief technology officer, said Monday that its 4G Long Term Evolution smartphones are on track to be launched in the first half and that the company is working through the issues of launching devices on new technology.

Speaking at Credit Suisse's Convergence conference, Melone didn't exactly say that LTE smarpthones are imminent. There have been numerous reports indicating that the HTC Thunderbolt was about to launch. Each date---the latest one March 4---has passed. Verizon Wireless has even run "Coming Soon" Thunderbolt ads on TV.

The problem: We don't know how soon these LTE devices will land. It's unclear whether Verizon is working through technology or pricing issues.

Melone was asked why the LTE smartphones are taking longer than some observers expected.

Here's what Melone said:

I guess our expectations change, but we had said first half of this year at CES, quite frankly, we think that exceeded people's expectations. A year ago, people didn't believe that there would be LTE smartphones in 2011. First half of the year is what we promised, first half of the year is still on track. So we don't believe there are any new or surprising issues. I think what we're facing is what you would expect, and that is a new technology, you are working through issues. And we anticipated that, and we are pleased at how we are working through issues. And as I said, you are going to see LTE smartphones on the network as promised, before the first half -- before the second half of the year, by the end of the second quarter.

Melone was then asked whether battery life was an issue. Given that you have to buy an aftermarket battery for the 3G HTC Incredible to survive it wouldn't be a surprise if the 4G HTC Thunderbolt gobbled up power too.

I would say all the issues are being worked. I'm not sure I would say there are any key issues. Again, battery life has always been a topic of folks, no different than it was with 3G. The OEMs and ourselves, between the network and the device, we'll optimize it and provide a battery experience that we believe will be acceptable to consumers.

Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, HTC, Mobility, Networking, Verizon, Wi-Fi

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11 comments
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  • RE: Verizon CTO: We're working through LTE smartphone issues

    At CES they had said the first devices by Q1, with most arriving by end of first half. Now they're claiming they had said by end-of-first half for any to appear? Sounds like back-pedalling to me.

    Many theories come to mind - battery life, fruity-phone priorities, etc. Regardless - the first supposed devices are going to be outdated by the time they launch. You can only sit-on unreleased tech for so long before it starts getting passed-up and losing value.
    DBEvans
    • LTE is new, so getting handsets to work takes time

      @DBEvans The fact that apple isnt ready to launch an LTE device tells you that there is a lot of work that needs to be done.

      If Thunderbolt works as advertised, then its got a good years worth of sales.

      Besides, if Verizon released it early, you guys would be complaining that they rushed it to market. Seems like they cant win no matter what they do.
      otaddy
      • RE: Verizon CTO: We're working through LTE smartphone issues

        @otaddy
        Not sure why you even bring up Apple - they're a non-player in the launch. HTC, Motorola, Samsung, LG and Verizon are the only ones currently expected to be involved in the launch devices - at least the only ones mentioned at CES. Apple is, at best, rumored to be investigating the option - so their not having one ready is meaningless for the purposes of the Verizon statement.

        It still remains that they are backpedalling on the date from a previous Q1 to now a 1st half; and that the technology in the phone is aging compared to other devices. Technology moves fast - disturbingly fast actually - to the point that a delayed launch impacts value when the technology gets passed up by newer devices.
        DBEvans
      • Apple is key factor: they do not go to LTE and this gives this test-mode ..

        @DBEvans: ... technology chance to be working.

        If Apple would release LTE iPhone, then the test network would be immediately dead due to overload.

        Now these who want to be lab rats have decent chance to go through all of the bugs and glitches for quite pricey plans, but still they have chances for quite speedy network use (at least when where and when it will work).
        DDERSSS
      • No Apple is relevant to the discussion

        @DBEvans If it were easy to get an LTE device up and running, dont you think they would have released one too?

        @denisrs Stop with the test network lies. The 4G data plans cost the same as the 3G plans--at least for business customers--but I believe consumer gets similar pricing for now.
        otaddy
    • RE: Verizon CTO: We're working through LTE smartphone issues

      @DBEvans
      "fruity-phone priorities" - I would wager this is the real reason we haven't seen any LTE phones come out yet. I also don't believe that it is the iPhone solely, but the iPad2 as well. Verizon doesn't want to launch "big" devices that could compete for attention too closely together. It would be my guess that this is why we haven't seen hardly any smartphones (only Pre2 and BB Bold, with silent releases) released since last year - that includes 3G phones that had been expected, but never materialized.

      Think about it... iPhone gets announced Jan, released beginning of Feb; the iPad2 gets anounced and released March... this is why we haven't see anything come out. Thunderbolt probably was expected for late Feb/early Mar release until word of imminent iPad2 coming out. I'd guess the Thunderbolt release to be late March/early April, once iPad2 release starts to run down. Think we may see a 3G phone or two finally at that time too, but unless specs have changed, they'll be DOA compared to other phone out by then.
      NetAdmin1178
      • RE: Verizon CTO: We're working through LTE smartphone issues

        @NetAdmin1178
        And yes, this is purely speculation; just my theory based on the delays/cancellation of several phones.

        I hope for Verizon's sake that Apple doesn't end up being disappointing compared to their expectations (and I don't think the iPhone launch was up to expectations so far); I think they've screwed over their Android lineup/partners just to get Apple on-board.
        NetAdmin1178
    • RE: Verizon CTO: We're working through LTE smartphone issues

      @DBEvans

      Hmmm, let's see now... They promised their first 'devices' by Q1... And they came out with 2 different ones to hook up to your laptop... Oh, and if the Thunderbolt comes out tomorrow, as they have said, it WILL STILL BE in Q1!! Q1 means the FIRST QUARTER of the year, not the first month. The first quarter ends on March 31st.

      So, as long as they have 3 products (one being a phone) out by March 31st, I don't see where you can they are 'back-pedalling'. Oh, and who's other 4G phones are passing by this one? None yet...
      djalan
  • Maybe it's the network,

    not the phone.
    Smell the coffee
  • RE: Verizon CTO: We're working through LTE smartphone issues

    It is exactly what they said, it is the implementation taking longer than expected. Regardless, it will still be 9 months lead time over iPhone which will push Apple further behind Android.

    Believe me, I'm waiting to get my Xoom updated and I'm sure it is well on its way.
    slickjim
  • RE: Verizon CTO: We're working through LTE smartphone issues

    I think apple has a lot to do with it, Just think about it, this is the one phone that can take smartphone arena by storm, ( funny Huh) but it can , and Apple will do everything it can to delay it. And has the deep pockets to do it. It is call war folks, It how it done in this world. Just my opinion.
    I still want it! and Yes I will wait! but now the price may have come down to $199.00 to $239.00 price range. what else will be out on the market at $300.00 and is a smartphone in June. I guess a lot will depend on cost of a gallon of gas in June can you say $9 a gal maybe we should buy oil stock and not smartphones.
    syoung3