Galaxy S4

A future software update will allow the Galaxy S4 to operate on Verizon's AWS LTE expansion network which is launching this summer in New York

When the Verizon version of the Galaxy S4 zipped through the FCC back in March, everyone noticed hardware support for the recently acquired AWS spectrum that will be used for Big Red's LTE expansion. Today, Bloomberg reports that this support is currently idle and will be enabled prior to the network going live this summer.

Verizon has been busy buying and selling AWS spectrum to bolster their current LTE network, which is slowly showing the effect of having so many phones and other devices running on it. The current 700MHz C-block is getting a bit, shall we say clogged, and because there's so little of it available there's not much chance of relief. As more and more customers sign up with an LTE-enabled smart phone or other device, Verizon needs more of the airwaves to serve them all. The amount of AWS spectrum available to Verizon means they could enable a very fast, nationwide network using it that can provide up to 400% (that'd be 20x20 compared to the existing 5x5 C-block network) of the capacity of their current LTE offerings.

Of course, to use this bigger and faster LTE network, you need hardware. That's where today's news comes into play. When Verizon is ready to flip the switch and light up the new AWS network in New York later this summer, a software update will make the Galaxy S4 ready to use it. We expect to see some incredible speed tests in the near future.

Source: Bloomberg


Reader comments

Verizon's Galaxy S4 will support AWS LTE via a software update


Correction, Verizon's current network is 10x10 as is AT&T's in most places.
Sprint uses 5x5 which is why their LTE network is generally slower.

If VZW can justify their inflated service prices, then it'd be worth staying with them. As it stands now, I'm on 4G LTE about 30% of the time. I'm not paying $160 per month for both mine and my wife's lines. So, unless this AWS drastically improves my 4G connectivity, I'm ditching the 3G CDMA turtle speeds for something else.

I've been happy with VZW customer service since the Bell Atlantic days, and that's not the reason for my jump. I just can't justify paying all that money to idle around on CDMA 3G speeds most of the day. It doesn't matter if I'm in NYC or Boston or along a major interstate highway. I'm almost always on 3G, and it's surely a result of the congested network.

>> It doesn't matter if I'm in NYC or Boston or along a major interstate highway. I'm almost always on 3G<<

I'm sorry I don't know where you are but that's certainly false. LTE doesn't quite cover 100% of the 3G footprint but it's pretty darn close. I can even be in the middle of 'Pennslyatucky" and still have LTE. So either you're in a really remote part of some state, have a device issue or just trolling everyone.

Actually, no. I live in the greater Boston area, and I'm running stock on my GNex. I just took a trip down I-95 this weekend to NYC, and the majority of the way down I was locked onto 3G. In Midtown Manhatten, I was flipping between 4G and 3G. In Downtown Boston I'm flipping between 3G and 4G. Anywhere within 10-20 miles of downtown Boston, I'm mostly on 3G. I-93 is mostly 3G, and there are pockets of 4G that I'll hit along I-93 and I-95 (rt 128). I travel all over Boston, Metrowest Boston, and down to the Cape on a regular basis. So, I have a good pulse on how my network connectivity really is.

My wife's phone has the same issue on her stock GNex, and she's in downtown Boston every weekday.

I actually like VZW customer service, and have been with them for over a decade. I just can't justify the cost of being on 3G most of the time. Getting a new device would either void my current grandfathered unlimited plan, or force me to buy a full priced device further increasing the cost of our service with VZW.

GNEX bro, there's your problem. one of the worst radios ever on a flagship device.I got the Note 2 and am constantly on Verizon 4G. My girlfriend got the N2 before me and in my own house she would get 4G and the GNEX wouldnt even come close as it was stuck on 3G.

I have to agree, a year ago I was up in the Boston area (bedford) and had perfect 4G reception on my old rezound. and I'm from NJ, 4G coverage around and in NYC is excellent. Time to ditch the gnex.

I hate to hate on the GNex but your story is all too consistent with the poor reception issues that so many have complained about. I have an S3 and I travel in/around the NYC area frequently and only see "3G" pop up if I am deep inside a building. Traveling around the boondocks also yields 4G almost 100% of the time. I just went to a wedding about 40 miles outside the nearest (small) city, in a remote town of 45,000 people, and had 4G pretty much the entire time, even on the backroads to/from there.

You're basing this all on 2 Galaxy Nexus devices, which have an old and well documented poor radio baseband hardware. As I noted in my comment, 'or a device issue', which is your case. Sorry you're stuck with it, but the reception the G-Nex shows off is not at all indicative of what's available and thus don't have a 'good pulse on network connectivity'. I live in NYC 50% of the time and have zero issues on the GS3, DNA or GS4. I had a Gnex too, and every other device runs circles around it in reception. That's your problem.

I'd have to say it's probably your GNex as well. I have a Gnex and can never seem to hold a stable 4G connection either. So don't blame the network for your device's poor radios. I suggest you replace your device before jumping ship.

If you are not in an LTE market, as it would seem since you can only use it 30% of the time then another carrier would likely be a good choice for you.

However, if you are in an LTE market and your phone does not pick it up I would swap your phone for a working one.

Either way, you win!

Yeah, both my wife and I are running stock Galaxy Nexus phones, so I highly doubt it's either device. Actually, my GNex was replaced under warranty about 4 months ago due to speaker/mic failure.

Given our recent experiences, I'm really hesitant to purchase a new device. We're grandfathered into unlimited, and it'd be silly to have VZW subsidize a new device for a more expensive equivalent plan. It's unfortunate, because I've been with VZW for over a decade and have always had great service and customer service. I just can't justify the cost/performance that I've been having the past year or so.

So, the only way it seems we'll win is to switch carriers. My friends with TMobile have had great service the past 3 years in Boston, so we may switch to them and save $60/month in the process.

Actually, it is your GNex. It doesn't matter if it's stock or not. It has an awful radio and that is why you aren't getting 4G. It has nothing to do with the network. Sorry to say, but it's your phone. Pretty much the entire Northeast is blanketed with perfect 4G coverage by Verizon. I have to go somewhere extremely rural to not have 4G. You can switch carriers if you want, but understand that when you do and get 4G it won't be because of network coverage, it will be because you aren't using the GNex.

Most odd, live in northern NJ close to NYC and I switched from Sprint after almost a decade because of cruddy 4G service and no service during storms (past few hurricanes everyone I know including me had no service on Sprint while Verizon was up and running).. Now on VZW, when traveling, I am always on 4G using Verizon. I have traveled from Maine to Tennessee with zero problems. My daughter sometimes tethers to my phone to watch netflix on her tablet without so much as a hiccup ever. Our last multi-state trip involved a stop in NC where folks we stayed at was a tad old fashioned and there was no wifi (horror!)so we lived off the 4G tethering for a week. I am very happy.

But I never buy any device because the SPEED TEST shows such a great reading! I have to test I in a real world.
I have Sprint and I average 21Mbps download on their 4G network NOT 4G LTE yet, and I am in Michigan.
Not that mean VZW bad network but, people should pick up the network which is working for them, not what they reading on the internet.

The only other "4G" network that Sprint runs is WiMax and that has been such a major disaster for them and their customers that you are likely the only person in MI that still uses it and on the single tower in MI that has 21Mbps of backhaul :)

I am using the HTC One, and I get sometime over 30 Mbps and I am in LIVONIA area and I love it. I don`t have to pay double on my bill a month.
In Chicago Sprint 4G speed on my HTC One average around 8Mbps download.
No normal person will need more than that speed on any carrier.

I would like to see info on any of their other phones either recently released or soon to be released which will have the same capability. I am probably within 8 - 12 weeks of getting a new device on VZW, and this kind of info will certainly influence which one I go for.

I live and work along the 495 corridor in Massachusetts, and my phone is almost always on 4G, not 3G. I only rarely see 3G pop up. Currently here in Lowell, I have 4 bars and even south of Worcester where I live, I consistently see 4G at 3 bars.

Will unlocked T-Mobile phones work on the Verizon AWS LTE network (and vice versa,) or is there a blocks issue in AWS too, as there is in the 700 MHz spectrum?

Also, doesn't Verizon sell its 700 MHz LTE phones LTE unlocked? What will happen with phones that have both bands present, like the BB Q10 and I guess the S4?