Verizon Gives CDMA, WiMAX Cold Shoulder on Broadband

Verizon Wireless said on Thursday it plans to use Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to upgrade its wireless network for higher speeds and will run tests of the technology in 2008.

LTE is a project within the GSM-based 3G Partnership Project, and promises high bandwidth and greater flexibility and efficiency.

The move could be a blow to Qualcomm, the developer of the CDMA technology Verizon’s current network is based on, and to backers of WiMax, a rival emerging technology that Intel supports.

But it could benefit wireless equipment makers that will help with its trial of the technology, such as Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Motorola, Nortel and Nokia-Siemens, the wireless equipment venture of Nokia and Siemens.

Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone, said it had talked with consumer electronics companies as well as traditional phone makers such as LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics and Motorola, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson, the joint venture of Sony Corp and Ericsson.

Verizon and Vodafone, which currently use incompatible mobile wireless technologies, had said in September that they would look to building their next-generation network on a common platform so customers could roam between the services.

Vodafone Chief Executive Arun Sarin had said in September at an analyst conference that it made sense for both companies to move to LTE for future networks, but Verizon Wireless had not confirmed the plan until on Thursday.

Verizon did not give a time frame for building the network, but Vodafone’s Sarin had estimated it could be 2010 or 2011 before it was possible to start using LTE commercially. He had said it might be 2015 before they are on a common platform.

Currently most Verizon customers have to use a separate phone or a competing network when they travel in Vodafone territories. Similarly Vodafone customers traveling in the United States must roam on rival services.

Qualcomm has been working on a rival next-generation technology known as Ultra Mobile Broadband. Some analysts have said that it was unclear who would use that technology if Verizon Wireless decided on a rival standard.

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