Verizon to fill in FiOS gaps with home LTE wireless service

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has indicated that it will be soon offering a new fixed home-based LTE wireless service targeting areas where it has not rolled out FiOS to challenge satellite broadband providers.

According to a DSLReports article, the service provider revealed its plans during its Q3 2011 conference call. It's likely that the home wireless service will build off the test it conducted in in Erie, Pa., with DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) last year.

"You're going to see that come in the fourth quarter with the--what we now call the Cantenna which is not a commercial name obviously, but it's the antenna that we actually trialed with DirecTV, which was extremely successful," said Fran Shammo, CFO of Verizon in response to a question about launching the LTE in-home product on a national scale.

Given the slow speeds and latency that comes with satellite broadband service, Verizon's offering could be a breath of fresh air to rural subscribers that have had little Internet access options. What's more, Verizon could also use the new wireless service to woo former wireline customers that it sold off to Frontier (NYSE: FTR) and FairPoint (Nasdaq: FRP).

This is not the first time Verizon has toyed with a wireless-based home service. Last fall, the service provider launched its Home Phone Connect service that essentially provides a bridge between the wireline and wireless voice service domains.

One of the other questions, of course, is whether the broader launch of the LTE service means that Verizon will only upgrade existing FiOS markets where it has a video operating franchise, leaving other large cities, including Boston, Buffalo, Baltimore and Alexandria without the service.  

"Now those lines that are outside that FiOS and outside of any potential of passing ever with FiOS we will continue to be competitive in this area but I think it's going to be around LTE," Shammo said. "We're not going to invest a lot of capital in the copper core network in those outlying areas. But I think we have a strategic bundle that we can go into those households with, give them a better experience than their currently having on their DSL line from a bundling of the wireless portfolio that we have."

However, a Verizon spokesman would not comment about anything beyond what Shammo said during the earnings call.

For more:
- see the Verizon earnings call transcript
- DSLReports has this article
- here's FierceWireless' take

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