Verizon Wireless CTO Tony Melone has reiterated that the operator is on schedule to launch LTE smartphones in the first half of 2011.
Melone responded to a question on the subject by admitting the US operator faced unspecified technical “issues” associated with LTE smartphones but nothing unexpected: "First half of the year is what we promised, first half of the year is still on track. So we don't believe there are any new or surprising issues.
I think what we're facing is what you would expect, and that is a new technology, you are working through issues....” Melone was speaking at the Credit Suisse Convergence conference and his comments were reported by ZDNet.
Questions have been raised because of the non-appearance of Verizon Wireless’ first LTE smartphone, the HTC Thunderbolt. The handset was scheduled for a February launch but has still not appeared. The operator has run ads on TV reassuring consumers that the handset is “coming soon”.
Various theories have been advanced about possible technical issues faced by Verizon Wireless in launching LTE smartphones. Battery life has been suggested, as has optimising the handsets for video calling via Skype.
The operator announced a range of ten LTE devices at CES 2011 in January including HTC’s smartphone alongside models from LG, Motorola and Samsung and tablets from Motorola and Samsung. It also announced a MiFi hotpsot from Novatel Wireless and a mobile hotspot from Samsung and two notebooks from HP. More news could be forthcoming at the CTIA event later this month.