Verizon’s LTE Markets: NY, LA, Chicago and… Where Else?

Since the Verizon LTE information page hasn’t offered any new information in ages, we’re going to try to move the needle a bit by starting a guessing game over which cities will be included in the list of “25 to 30″ markets that are still supposed to see live Long Term Evolution services from Big Red before the end of calendar 2010.

Remember, this is only a game, for fun! No wagering!

Since Verizon is claiming that it will offer LTE services to “approximately 100 million people” in the U.S. by the end of the year, it becomes a bit of a math game to figure out how you get to 100 million covered while launching at best 30 markets. All you need for this game are some accurate-enough U.S. census figures, and you can start to build a list of the big cities Verizon is gonna need to hit that 100 million mark. (Note: all numbers are approximate, but close enough for the purpose of this exercise.)

What you find out is that unless Verizon includes all the big major metro areas — like New York and its 19 million residents, LA and its 12.9 million Angelenos and the 9.5 million Chicagoans — it’s going to be almost impossible to hit the 100 million mark with just 30 markets, so into the hopper they go. Since we are not Verizon market experts but are guessing some readers of this blog are, we’re stopping our list halfway through, since with our 15 we’re already at a total of 87 million, close enough so that Verizon can get to 30 markets by adding a bunch of smaller locales.

What about service plans, prices and devices? All good stuff that we’re guessing we’ll hear LaTEr in the year from Verizon. Let’s check back then to see how close we were with these guesses, which include the big markets for math and then a bunch of East Coast markets to reflect Verizon’s Bell Atlantic heritage:

SIDECUT FIRST GUESS AT VERIZON 2010 LTE MARKET LAUNCH LIST:

(Metro area, approximate total population in millions of potential LTE customers)

1. New York (19.0 million)
2. Los Angeles (12.9)
3. Chicago (9.5)
4. Dallas/Fort Worth (6.3)
5. Philadelphia (5.8)
6. Washington D.C. (5.3)
7. Boston (4.5)
8. Detroit (4.4)
9. San Francisco/Bay Area (4.2)
10. Phoenix (4.2)
11. Seattle (3.3)
12. Baltimore (2.6)
13. Denver (2.5)
14. Providence, R.I. (1.5)
15. Hartford, Conn. (1.2)

Total: Approximately 87.2 million population covered. Add your guesses, corrections or other observations in the comments!

5 Responses to “Verizon’s LTE Markets: NY, LA, Chicago and… Where Else?”

  1. Bob Says:

    Utility of the LTE service will be gated by the completeness of the base station infrastructure.
    VZW has quite a few cell sites, including a few micro-cells, in-building/tunnel cells and even simple RF repeaters. It seems likely that only a small sub-set of these will be upgraded to be 700Mhz LTE capable in the near term.

    Verizon is (apparently) just about to release a EVDO capable in-home femtocell. Do they even have a LTE femtocell on the drawing board yet? As extensive as VZW’s base station network is, they STILL have numerous coverage shortcomings (especially wrt in-building penetration).

    Presumably, this would all go a lot faster if more money was left on the table for the carriers to do their build-out. Instead, our fine-folks at the FCC and Congress siphon-off needed capital in the form of spectrum-auctions (back-door tax on all of us, as everyone owns a cellphone these days). I hope VZW has enough money in the bank to QUICKLY complete the upgrade of its entire infrastructure. Until then, coverage will likely be spotty.

    Perhaps VZW should hand out rabbit-ears (external higher-gain antenna) with each LTE client card? That will increase the usable radius of the initial LTE base stations (and give early adopter techies something to tinker with!).

  2. John Says:

    I would assume they do Indianapolis, IN. Considering Verizon’s influence on the area. That’s good for a million plus.

  3. Neil Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Verizon’s LTE coverage for cities included some of the surrounding suburban towns/counties. I live outside of Philadelphia and thus am not included in Philadelphia’s population count. However, I can still benefit from Sprint’s 4G WIMAX service from my home.

    If populations outside of these large cities are included, I could imagine VZ easily reaching it’s 100 million.

  4. Paul Says:

    Neil, I am pretty sure the population counts include the surrounding areas. But it will be interesting to see how Verizon does its math — so it’s possible you are correct and there won’t be more cities but more close-in areas that add to the count.

    Either way, it’s a good guess that big cities and suburbs on the East coast (especially where Verizon has done its FiOS fiber buildouts) are on the short list.

  5. V. Ellis Wade Says:

    I am hoping for Florida markets as well (Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Jax) - Gotta counter that Sprint 4G that is already working here.

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