01.23.2017Network

New network technologies coming for our customers in 2017 building on 2016 accomplishments

Media contact(s) 
Howard Waterman
T. 917.359.5505
Nicola Palmer, Chief Network Officer for Verizon Wireless, reflects on 2016 Network performance, new technology and innovation

Nicola talks about 2017 Network priorities.

Building on 2016 Network accomplishments

2016 was a great year for the Verizon Wireless Network, full of firsts and transformation, all with our customers in mind. We made the best Network even better through innovation, deploying the latest technology, and by continuing to provide the broadest coverage, best speeds, and the unsurpassed reliability our customers deserve. We call it “predictable excellence.” And it’s what our talented Network team does, every day. Let’s dig in a bit…

Extending our lead over the competition

By the measure of credible, independent testing organizations, we continued pulling away from our competitors, despite their attempts to blur the facts. We’ve won numerous major awards:

  • According to the independent RootMetrics® organization, Verizon’s wireless network is rated #1 nationally in every category tested. In the first half of 2016, we won or tied for first in 98 of 125 metro markets tested – that’s 78%. During the second half of the year, we won or tied for first 93% of the time – that’s 116 of 125 metro markets tested – further extending our lead over the other carriers. The performance lead is growing even larger, as the discount networks focus on gimmicky crowd-sourced apps that don’t even measure the frustration of customers who don’t get a signal in the first place.
  • Verizon has the best performing VoLTE (Voice over LTE) Network, based on  the most recent Nielsen drive test data for reliability, coverage and voice quality.
  • And our Network superiority matters to customers. We ranked highest in 5 of the 6 regions in J.D. Power’s most recent Wireless Network Quality Study. This means we have received more J.D. Power wireless network quality awards than any other provider in this study 17 times in a row.

Our Network is there when you need it most: reliability matters

There’s another aspect of reliability that is harder to test and measure. How reliable is your Network when the unexpected happens? I’m proud of the work our team did to keep our customers connected in the wake of major disasters like the Louisiana Floods, Hurricane Matthew and the Tennessee wildfires. Law enforcement and first responders rely on our Network. My team takes a lot of pride in that, while knowing there’s always more to do to enhance performance.

How we did it: coverage, capacity and investment

Our 4G LTE Network covers more than 2.4 million square miles and 314 million people – by far the largest. We invested heavily in our 4G LTE Network, deploying the newest and greatest technologies to stay ahead of very strong customer demand. Year after year, we invest significantly in our Network – a different approach than competitors that play a game of “catch up.” We spend more to maintain and grow, which helps us pull further and further ahead. 

Starting in early 2016 with Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco, we began showcasing our advanced deployment of small cells. Mounted on existing structures like street lights and utility poles, small cells extend 4G LTE coverage, and increase Network capacity where it’s needed most. We call it “densifying” our Network with a “low and tight” design. This critical infrastructure also supports the Internet of Things (IOT), smart cities, and ultimately grounds our future 5G Network.

New technology to keep your experience the best

In 2016, we were the first U.S. wireless provider to deploy LTE Advanced nationally, providing peak speeds that are 50% faster, in more than 470 markets, covering 93% of the population. LTE Advanced features carrier aggregation – think of it as allowing cars to use multiple lanes on a highway vs. just one. We also deployed remote electrical tilt antennas, 4-way receive and 4 x 4 MIMO – new technologies that increase coverage and capacity.

Here are other examples of putting the latest technology to work for our customers:

  • We have nationally deployed self-optimizing network (SON) technology that uses automation to quickly adjust to customer demand in real-time for a better customer experience.
  • The adoption of software-based solutions is leading to rapid innovation. Through Software Defined Networks (SDN), we are moving applications and network functions from hardware to the cloud, reducing upgrade times and supporting new services. An example is our fully virtualized Machine-to-Machine (M2M) core, which efficiently supports a global customer base from just a few locations.
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to explode and we are delivering innovative IoT solutions to our business customers. A great example is precision agriculture: our Network is being used today by wineries to track and measure water consumption to optimize crop yields. 
  • A strong example of innovation last year was our pioneering use of drones. We were the first provider to successfully test drones to provide airborne wireless connectivity during an emergency response exercise. Additionally, during Hurricane Matthew, we used drones to assess the damage at an inaccessible cell site surrounded by flood waters. In this industry first, we determined the site was structurally sound (it had been built on stilts for just this occasion!). So our local Network team secured an airboat and refueled the generator, bringing the site back into service within just hours vs. potentially days.
Testing delivery of 4G LTE service from a drone at Cape May, N.J.

Testing delivery of 4G LTE service from a drone at Cape May, N.J.

Driving toward 5G

Innovation is a habit and industry leaders never stop looking to the future for their customers.  That’s why we created the world’s first 5G Technology Forum over a year ago – to drive commercialization through ecosystem development and bring the promise of 5G to our customers. In 2016, we led the way by publishing the first 5G radio specifications. Multiple locations throughout the country are now part of our 5G testing and pre-commercial deployment. You can look forward to more exciting news on 5G this year!

In 2017, we will continue to focus on performance, reliability and always leading through innovation and technology. I’ll be providing more insights and Network updates on LinkedIn this year, so I invite you to follow me there.