Verizon, the largest wireless carrier in the United States, is claiming that its network was able to withstand the increased data consumption of its subscribers after the carrier launched its own unlimited plans. Verizon’s CEO Matt Ellis made this statement in an investors’ conference in response to the allegations made by his counterpart over at T-Mobile, John Legere, that data speeds on Verizon’s network slowed down by 14 percent after the carrier started offering unlimited data plans. While not directly rebuking the statements made by Legere, Ellis stated that Verizon’s network was performing well and that the carrier has plans to maintain its network performance.
One of Verizon’s plans is to deploy LTE service in unused spectrum, which amounts to around 50 percent of the carrier’s total frequency holdings. Some of these unused spectrum are in the AWS-3 bands and refarmed frequencies from the carrier’s 2G and 3G networks. By allotting more frequencies to its LTE service, Verizon aims to maintain its network performance by providing more headroom in data speeds and network capacity. Aside from its spectrum holdings, Verizon also plans to start deploying LTE service in unlicensed frequencies starting next year. The carrier also aims to deploy more small cells across the country in an effort to densify its network and prepare its network for 5G deployment.
Maintaining Verizon’s network performance is important to retain its subscribers which may be lured by the cheaper plans offered primarily by T-Mobile and Sprint. In the previous years, one of Verizon’s most important selling points is its vastly superior and more widely available LTE network. However, this selling point is becoming less effective as other carriers are continuously improving and expanding their own LTE networks. In fact, T-Mobile is only two percent behind Verizon in terms of LTE availability in the United States. In an effort to prevent further loss of subscribers to competition, Verizon launched its own unlimited data plans in the first quarter of 2017. Despite its recent efforts, Verizon still saw a reduction in the number of total postpaid subscribers in the first quarter, affecting key company metrics like earnings per share.