Verizon Wireless previously adopted CDMA technology, and was one of the world's largest CDMA networks. It launched a 4G network using the global LTE standard in 2010, and plans to sunset CDMA at end 2020, migrating all customers to 4G supplemented by 5G in many areas.
During the period when it was primarily CDMA based, Verizon did not have the option to launch a WiFi dual-mode phone service using UMA, which T-Mobile US provided. Fewer vendors were prepared to develop CDMA Femtocells because of the very small market (Verizon, Sprint in the USA and perhaps one or two Asian networks), and so their unit cost was quite high. Migrating to the worldwide 4G LTE standard has greately increased the number of potential suppliers.
3G CDMA Femtocell
Verizon launched their 2G CDMA femtocell on 26th January 2009 using on Samsung's Ubicell, the same product as Sprint had initially used for Airave. Verizon's service is called "Verizon Network Extender" and sells for a one-off price of $249 - there are no ongoing charges and no discounted rates when using it. Effectively, this competes directly with a repeater, available from many retail stores. It does require a broadband connection, but is simple to install.
A 3G CDMA femtocell, also supplied by Samsung, was launched in October 2010. This has additional capacity, handling up to 6 voice calls, and high speed data service using EV-DO technology. Pricing is the same as for the 2G model.
This product is no longer for sale. Verizon plan to terminate their 3G CDMA network at the end of 2020 after which time these devices would no longer work.
Several end users have commented on their experience with the product.
Blogger Kenneth Finnegan is pretty happy with it, saying:
- Good range, audio quality, easy setup
- Internet broadband usage is less than expected during calls
- GPS signal is required for operation, but an external antenna can be connected via co-ax cable included in the box. (He incorrectly states this is for location finding for emergency calls - partially correct, it's also needed to determine what spectrum is available at that location, whether Verizon is allowed to operate there and to provide timing and synchronisation signals for effective performance and handover to external cellsites).
- Feels that the price is still a little on the high side, but happy that there's no ongoing charges/premium fees.
However, there have been a couple of significant nationwide outages of the system, which caused complaints at the time.
This one - from July 2010 - relates to the original 2G Samsung solution.
4G LTE Network Extender
Verizon introduced a 4G LTE Network Extender product from Samsung in 2016, and subsequently updated to version 2, currently on offer for $249.99 with no ongoing monthly fees.
It does NOT support 3G CDMA, so requires phones to make all voice calls using VoLTE.
It can handle up to 14 mobile devices concurrently and is aimed at the smaller enterprise marketplace.