Verizon Communication Inc. (VZ - Analyst Report) – the largest 4G LTE operator in the U.S. -- plans to enter into an international roaming agreement for 4G LTE services for the first time since its launch in 2010.
The new deal is expected to be signed in the forthcoming quarters. However, the name of the carrier has yet to be disclosed.
Verizon Communication Inc., which is a joint venture between Verizon Wireless and Vodafone Group Plc. (VOD - Analyst Report), continues to offer its wireless service through Verizon Wireless. At present, the company is offering its 4G LTE services in nearly 480 markets, covering approximately 273.5 million or 89% of the total U.S. population. Moreover, it already has nearly 200 international roaming agreements for its 3G services with different carriers globally.
According to Verizon Wireless management, such delay in international roaming agreement for 4G LTE services is mainly due to two factors. Firstly, most countries are yet to auction 4G LTE related spectrums. Secondly, telecom operators are taking time to migrate their 3G customers to new 4G LTE technology. Thirdly, these carriers are taking time to roll out their 4G LTE services across its footprints.
Verizon Wireless is way ahead in 4G LTE deployment than its close rivals AT&T Inc. (T - Analyst Report) and Sprint Nextel Corp. (S - Analyst Report), which have already covered 141 and 58 markets, respectively.
In the recently concluded quarter, Verizon added 2.2 million retail subscribers compared to 1.1 million customers added by AT&T while Sprint lost 95,000 retail subscribers.
So signing of the contract will not only improve the overseas data and call service of Verizon Wireless but will also help the company to retain its top spot in the country.
Currently, Verizon carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).