Customers getting dropped from LTE to 3G because of 'capacity constraints'
Speaking at an investor conference, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo admitted that his carrier's network isn't offering a high enough quality of service in big cities. Although it reminds everyone regularly that it has the nation's largest LTE network, the admission that Verizon is coming up short in data speeds and experience is a surprising one.
"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."
Said Shammo, acknowledging the problem. In our own experience in the Seattle area, we've seen Verizon's network regularly become unusable on LTE, dropping to 3G and even 1X just to try and hold a signal — and it turns out we're not alone. Verizon has been selling LTE handsets for the longest of any carrier and well over half of its data traffic is moved over LTE, putting serious strain on the network. Shammo says that an average LTE customer uses over double the data of a 3G customer.
The fix? Verizon plans to increase its capital expenditures by $500 million this year for the network, as well as look into small cell technology and better utilization of spectrum in the trouble areas. Shammo claims that we will "see all of those issues dissipate" by the end of the year, and that Verizon will be ahead of the curve again come 2014. That's a lofty goal for a turnaround as we hit the middle of November, but those of us in large cities would certainly welcome better speeds.