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Verizon offers data speed upgrade in Minnesota

Verizon Wireless users in Minnesota should see a data speed boost on their smartphones thanks to a recent upgrade that is said to be compatible with dozens of the carrier's devices.

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Verizon Wireless users in Minnesota should see a data speed boost on their smartphones thanks to a recent upgrade that is said to be compatible with dozens of the carrier's devices.

Verizon recently announced it is has deployed "LTE Advanced," an enhanced version of its Long Term Evolution data network, in 461 U.S. markets.

These include Minneapolis-St. Paul along with Alexandria, Austin, Brainerd, Duluth, Fairmont, Fergus Falls, Mankato, Marshall, St. Cloud, Willmar, Winona and Worthington. The upgrade comes at no extra cost and begins working automatically on compatible devices.

LTE Advanced is designed to deliver data uploads and downloads that are up to 50 percent quicker, though not consistently so. The speed boosts are said to occur during "peak" usage -- when a big file is being uploaded or downloaded, for instance.

The 461 markets did not obtain LTE Advanced all at once. Verizon said it has been quietly upgrading its network from coast to coast in recent months, and it made its announcement when it achieved countrywide coverage -- though primarily in urban centers.

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LTE Advanced works via a technology called carrier aggregation that combines two or three wireless channels into one large one. This allows users to get faster speeds than if they were restricted to a single channel that would, at times, represent a bottleneck.

LTE Advanced is compatible with more than three dozen existing devices, including tablets and smartphones. Examples include Apple's last two years of iPhone models and most of its current iPads, along with a range of HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung and Sony devices.

Major U.S. wireless carriers are in an arms race to deploy LTE Advanced, with Verizon as a bit of a laggard.

AT&T has offered LTE Advanced in the Twin Cities since November 2014, and it has deployed the tech mostly in high-density, high-traffic areas around the country. Twenty-six of the carrier's current devices are compatible with LTE Advanced.

T-Mobile scoffed in a blog post that the Verizon announcement is "so 2014," saying it has offered two-carrier aggregation since that time and is currently deploying three-channel aggregation. Such technology is available in 425 U.S. cities, it added.

Sprint's LTE Advanced deployment in the Twin Cities is now under way, according to a spokeswoman.

Related Topics: TECHNOLOGY
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