According to a recent interview done by RCR Wireless, Mike Haberman who is Verizon’s CP of network support states that that hardware upgrade are being made to existing cell sites. A recent real-world trial was done in Florida, and more hardware upgrades will continue to occur in the coming months.
Even though these upgrades will be occurring, it may be a while until you see a difference in your smartphone. Verizon’s upgrades rely on a few new technologies to boost capacity of their network, as well as boosting speed. License Assisted Access, or LAA, is the new technique that Verizon is using. It’s a mixture of licensed cell spectrum with unlicensed spectrum. In terms of this case, the same 5GHz channels that are used in home Wi-Fi networks.
Using unlicensed spectrum in LAA increases the available spectrum without logistical cost, and further reducing the hassle of building out more cell sites and spectrum. Combining different cell bands is called carrier aggregation, which is the trick being used here.
While Verizon isn’t the first company to do these types of trials, it is the only company planning to start a roll-out in 2017. If you’re a Verizon customer, you can be excited to have these upgrades coming to your market soon.