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Verizon XLTE wireless promises faster speeds and double the bandwidth

The  Samsung Galaxy S 5 is one of many phones Verizon is promoting as XLTE Ready
The Samsung Galaxy S 5 is one of many phones Verizon is promoting as XLTE ReadyPhoto by David Ramos/Getty Images

Verizon kicked off the XLTE marketing campaign on Monday promising network enhancements would give their customers faster peak speeds and double the 4G LTE bandwidth.

After reading through the Verizon press releases and watching the XLTE commercials, Verizon's answer to the question "What is XLTE and how does it work?" leaves many consumers with more questions than answers.

Exactly what is XLTE?

The Verizon announcements on the new XLTE does not provide specifics on exactly how they will keep the promise of faster data speeds and double the bandwidth other than to say it all happens "in markets nationwide where AWS spectrum has been activated."

Does XLTE define a service?

There is nothing new or advanced about Verizon Wireless XLTE. It is regular LTE broadcast on more than one spectrum block.

What is the AWS spectrum?

The FCC (Federal Communication Commission) defines AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) as a specific part of the communications frequency spectrum used for fixed and mobile voice and data services, including cell phone, text messaging, and Internet.

Does XLTE define a new product line?

According to Verizon, nearly all of the devices Verizon Wireless currently sells are AWS spectrum ready when purchased.

Bandwidth versus data speed

The terms bandwidth and data speed are used often in marketing, and can be very confusing and misleading to consumers trying to compare services. Not all that long ago wireless phone shoppers were struggling to understand the differences between 3G versus 4G.

The best way to explain XLTE is use the analogy of the urban highway systems where many cities have added the carpool lane on a busy highway to give commuters an extra lane with the promise of faster travel. Verizon XLTE is like adding more lanes to a highway where the speed limit stays the same. During rush hour traffic, when speeds tend to slow down, the added lanes of traffic help to keep things moving faster.

Adding extra lanes to the highway is the analogy of adding extra bandwidth. But that does not always mean faster travel. As they say in the auto advertisements, your mileage may vary.

In a market full of wireless service buzzwords XLTE represents another marketing slogan with the promise of better wireless service.

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