Verizon begins testing 4G LTE on 3G spectrum

After having announced that it would repurpose portions of its 3G spectrum to operate the faster 4G LTE protocol sometime in 2015, it looks like the Verizon has begun the conversion process and is testing these plans in select markets. Verizon would not give specifics about the test markets right now, but it is reported that Verizon is at least starting its trial of operating LTE on some of its 3G spectrum in New York.

Gigaom reports they were were able to use a spectrum analyzer and a Nexus 5 and Galaxy S4 phone to confirm that Verizon is running 4G LTE on some of its PCS bands in Manhattan.

Milanovic said that he's found Verizon LTE in the PCS band at cell sites all over Manhattan, but so far nothing in Brooklyn and Queens. The transmit power of the network is still very low and the internet speeds he's getting are still very slow, he said, indicating that Verizon is still in the early stages of testing. There have also been reports on network-tracking site SG4U of LTE popping up on Verizon's PCS band in Cleveland.

Though Verizon may be repurposing a portion of its 3G spectrum for LTE usage, the full transition may not happen right away:

About 80 percent of Verizon's mobile data traffic now rides over LTE, but some 40 million (41 percent) of the total devices on Verizon's networks only have 2G and 3G radios. That means for the foreseeable future, Verizon will have to keep a modicum of EV-DO capacity online at every cell site to support those devices. As for 2G, it will be around even longer than 3G since it's still Verizon's primary voice network, but eventually Verizon will begin the bulk of its voice traffic onto its new voice-over-LTE service.

Source: Gigaom