Verizon Wireless, once the gold standard for LTE, has admitted that it is struggling to keep up with demand in the big cities – with some users being dropped down to slower 3G speeds. The carrier’s Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said yesterday:
There are certain pockets where we’re absolutely going to experience that down tick from the LTE network down to 3G because of capacity constraints …
Verizon moved into LTE ahead of other carriers, and now has the largest network with the greatest number of LTE customers. This partly explains why the company is struggling: one third of its customers are using LTE devices, but they account for almost two-thirds of the carrier’s total data usage.
Informal tests by the WSJ across three locations showed that while Verizon wasn’t the fastest in any of them, its consistent performance did put it in second place – and it lost out to AT&T only because of the massive difference in speed recorded in NYC.
Verizon Wireless came in second, averaging 16.7 mbps, well above its promised range of 5 to 12 mbps. Verizon wasn’t No. 1 in any of the test locations, but it was the most consistent performer, clustering between 15 and 18.6 mbps.
Oddly, Verizon said it was taken by surprise by the growth in video traffic from LTE users, when mobile video has always been advertised as one of the key benefits of the faster data standard. The company did, however, say that it expects the issues to be short-lived.
“By the end of this year you are going to see all those issues dissipate,” Shammo said. “And then going into next year we will be ahead of the curve again.”