In a filing with the FCC to win approval for its purchase of wireless spectrum, Verizon has stated that it expects to run out of LTE spectrum in some areas unless it can procure additional spectrum promptly. Verizon expects limits on its 4G LTE network bandwidth as early as next year. This would lead to a widespread shortage of spectrum to meet customers’ needs by 2015. This filing comes just before Verizon is ready to conclude a $3.9 billion deal with Spectrum-Co, a holding company, to acquire more spectrum, which the FCC has to approve.
The major wireless carriers in the U.S, like Verizon and AT&T, have been adept at purchasing sufficient wireless spectrum to keep up with the demand, but as the LTE rollout continues unabated nationwide, demand is set to increase rapidly. Verizon executive Bill Stone has stated that Verizon’s current amount of spectrum “will not provide sufficient capacity to meet the growing demand for mobile broadband- 4G, in particular- by 2013 in some areas and by 2015 in many more.”
Currently, only a small percent (about 5 percent) of Verizon’s customers are on its 4G LTE network, but the company expects increased subscribers through its promotional schemes and tiered data plans. The expected spectrum crunch is also magnified by the expected release of the LTE enabled iPad. If the network is already stretched, the release of a top selling iPad will only exacerbate the spectrum problems that Verizon anticipates.
Verizon is already looking to invest in more innovative LTE technology that will help to relieve some of the traffic load on its broadband network in the coming years.