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Verizon’s Galaxy S4 Features Components to Support Future AWS Network, Potential to Double Speeds Following OTA Update

verizon galaxy s4

The Galaxy S4 being sold through Verizon appears to be future proof, folks. Whenever buying a new piece of tech, the running joke is that whatever you buy will most likely be outdated within a couple of months after buying it, but it looks like Verizon took a few extra steps to make sure that was not the case.

According to a report out of Bloomberg, inside the Galaxy S4 on Verizon lay special components, ones that allow the device to run on the carrier’s future Advanced Wireless Spectrum (AWS) network. From studies Verizon has done, AWS will allow for browsing speeds twice that of what we are currently seeing here in America. 

With the strain already being noticed on their 4G LTE network, Verizon says they are looking to begin turning on the AWS within the next few months, as construction has already taken place in certain heavily populated areas in the U.S., such as New York City. According to their projections, within three years, subscribers running on their 4G LTE network will reach six to seven times that of which are currently using it.

Ability to run on Verizon’s next network will come through an OTA update to the Galaxy S4, which should take place in the near future as Big Red readies to flip the AWS switch.

Could the addition of these AWS components be the cause of Verizon’s “delayed” GS4 launch?

Via: Bloomberg

  • Brandon Golway

    I saw this and for a second regretted getting my S4 on T-Mobile and ditching Verizon… but then I realized that 93% of the USA is covered in LTE (or so they say) and my city STILL doesn’t have LTE even though they said we were going to get it over a year ago! While at T-Mobile one of the employees said we’d be getting T-Mobile LTE in our area very soon, I wouldn’t be surprised if my city is covered in T-Mobile’s LTE before it is with Verizon’s! Not to mention T-Mobile’s LTE is probably going to be SICK, the most (consistent) speeds I’ve ever gotten on Verizon’s LTE was around 15-20 Mbps (Max was 50, but that was only like a one or two time fluke). I’m getting 10 Mbps on T-Mobile’s HSPA+!

  • View Askew

    HELLO 120Mb downstream! Does this make my unlimited plan worth twice as much?

    Oh wait, gotta have a sammy? Pass.

    • flosserelli

      Don’t worry. VZW will find a way to charge extra for the added bandwidth, regardless of what phone you have.

  • Steve

    My neighbor owns a business that builds and maintains cell sites in the PA/DE/NJ region for all carriers. He has said for years now how VZW spends endless amounts more per year over the others when it comes to constantly upgrading and adding sites. He just told me about AWS a few days ago, and stated VZW has them physically removing many LTE antennas and replacing them with AWS in the Philadelphia region. It should be hitting the northeast pretty soon.

  • Max Kimball

    If the HTC One actually does come out on Verizon, will it support AWS?

  • Tyler

    So basically what your saying is that this is the best device to eat through my 2gb of data as quick as possible?

  • Mindchatter13

    I have unlimited data and iF I went to buy a subsidized phone i wouLd have to pay 200 bucks A month for 10gigs of data. which is just ridiculous. No idea if i should just pony up the cash and just buy the phone off contract or what. Very bored of my Droid Bionic and have been very disappointed with My expErience. Also wOrried about dev support with GS4. Any thoughts? Suggestions? I cant make up my miNd..

    • Guest

      Two Words: Keep Unlimited

    • flosserelli

      Which is more important to you: Keeping unlimited data, or getting a phone that will be superseded in 6 months?

    • scastro87

      Just bought the GS4 off contract using the device payment plan and had the Bionic until it crapped out on me a week and a half ago. Love the GS4 so far, especially in comparison to the Bionic.

      • Mindchatter13

        Where did you go to buy it and how much did it up being if I may ask?

        • scastro87

          I got it the first day it came out so I had to go straight to a Verizon store, not an authorized retailer. Including tax, the final price was around $700. Paid $150 out of pocket including tax amd first device payment plan payment and $50 down.

          • Mindchatter13

            Went to verizon today they said they dont do payment plans and the phone was 729 thats pretty damn expensive for a phone

          • scastro87

            Did you go to an authorized retailer or a corporate store? The authorized retailers can’t do device payment plans. I first went to a retailer and they were going to charge $750 without the device payment plan so then I went to a corporate store. They tried telling me that I couldn’t do device payment plan on the launch day, but I complained enough that they let me and it was $650+ tax

  • Nathaniel Newman

    This is a LITE month for me on Data. (this is a Bionic) http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd260/xmguy/1369780748893_zpsd0deedcb.jpg

    • flosserelli


      • Nathaniel Newman

        Well I’ve used as high as 15 GBs before. I’ll probably be there before my billing cycle is up.

    • scastro87

      I’m about the same!

  • Ajmcnicol

    People need to stop bitching about tiered data plans. Fact is , most people have access to free wifi in a majority of the places they are at. Just too lazy to use/signup for/ etc..
    Between my works wifi for employees, my home wifi, the bagillion free spots at mcdonals/starbucks/xyz business…i rarely get near my 4gig limit of my dataplan..even with heavy pandora, netflix and game usage.

  • Nathaniel Newman

    Wonder if the Razr HD / Maxx has this AWS support?

  • Given the recent changes to their upgrade cycles, this is a (baby) step in the right direction… assuming they follow through, of course.

  • Sporttster

    AWS,huh?? 105Mbps dl speeds?? Hmm….can YOU say ‘good riddance, Comcast!’?? I know I CAN!! Gimme gimme gimme!!

  • BulletTooth_Tony

    This was part of their FCC certification 2 months ago…. why the surprise?

  • milanyc

    It’s still a Cat 3 device, capping at 102Mbps, although Verizon’s 2x20Mhz AWS network will be able to push 150Mbps on the downlink, S4 will limit that to 100Mbps.
    Considering that we can get 72Mbps on their current Band 13 network, S4 won’t be providing “twice the speeds”

    • Ian

      Verizon marketing was never that great with numbers….

    • Though that is true, theoretical numbers are slightly irrelevant in this case. Considering that Verizon’s 4G averages 9.61Mbps right now, twice the speed marketing-wise means 20Mbps. A new, non-congested network certainly will provide that. If the theoretical limit of 100Mbps is achieved (which it won’t), this would be about 10 times what users are currently seeing.

      • milanyc

        I’m purely talking about User Equipment, not network. 10Mhz being a limiting factor for current Cat 3 devices (GS4), peaking at 72Mbps achievable speeds.
        20Mhz FDD would peak at 102Mbps on Cat 3.

        That said, Cat 4 UE should be popping up in Q4 of this year, and those devices will really take advantage of 20Mhz FDD channels.

    • umbrellacorp

      How dare you give everyone something based in science!!!!!

  • Corey Foltman

    we are talking about verizon doing an OTA right? that in itself is kind of a joke.

    • schoat333

      LOL this!

      VZW, will update the phone to use AWS 12 months after they turn it on.

      • Doug Wing

        Verizon will want to get people on to their AWS network as quickly as possible to free up bandwidth on the non-AWS LTE network. That means pushing out the OTA quickly so people can actually take advantage of the AWS buildout going on.

        It makes no logical sense for them to flip on the switch to AWS in NYC and a few other highly congested metro areas but not enable AWS on their phones. The odds are, once AWS is up and running and tested, the OTA will come pretty quickly.

        • Ajmcnicol

          agreed…not to mention they want fast speed availble to people to burn through their tiered data packages and pay $10 for ever gig over.

        • LiterofCola

          Yup, exactly what I was thinking.

    • BrosesMalone

      As much as I dislike Verizon, they’ve been really good about OTA’s lately, so the joke kind of doesn’t work anymore.

      • michael arazan

        Sorry, but one act of goodness does not reprieve all the years of crapping on “loyal customers” imo

        • Brandon Golway

          After being a loyal customer of 7 years I voted with my wallet 🙂

      • Blue Sun

        Ever heard of the Motorola Xoom 4G LTE? I’m still waiting 10+ months for my JB 4.1 OS update…

  • MikeCiggy

    and the reason I continue to pay Verizon’s outrageous prices is part of this. The fastest network out there. Also the fastest growing technology wise.

    • PapiBone5

      Um I hate to bust your bubble but Verizon doesn’t have the fastest network, AT&T have the fastest network, http://www.droid-life.com/2013/03/13/att-boasts-fastest-4g-lte-speeds-of-any-major-carrier/

      • Geoff Johnson

        Depends where you live, it may be the fastest in the areas he visits.

      • MikeCiggy

        Maybe in your bubble but not mine.

        I have service at work where others (AT&T included) do not
        I have 4G where friends DO NOT
        I have 3G that lets me stream Pandora perfectly at every mountain I have snowboarded again where friend COULD NOT

        So i’ll stick with Verizon thanks.

    • hkklife

      I agree about the network part but it’s really a crying shame about that <~9Gb of available internal storage being far from future proof

  • Fuzzysocks94

    Versions S4 was delayed because it wouldn’t be a launch on their network without it

  • Jon

    Why faster speeds with draconian data caps? This won’t benefit anyone if your limited to 2 gigs of data.

    • Joe Blow

      Use more, spend more, pay more.. Did everyone forget VZW is a FOR PROFIT business????

      • Sporttster

        Correction: Did everyone forget VZW is a FOR >EXCESSIVE< PROFIT business????

        • schoat333


          They made plenty of profit with unlimited data plans.

        • umbrellacorp

          What’s wrong with being in the business of making stupid amounts of money? If you don’t like it, don’t buy into it or you’re perpetuating the “problem” you have.

          I don’t like Verizon but I must agree to what they do to an extent because they’re currently my cell phone provider and until a better deal comes along, then I will vote with my wallet.

          Caveat emptor.

          • Ajmcnicol

            Agreed! its the job of every business to make as much profit as possible. we may not like it as the consumer..cause we pay for it..but they arent doing this for charity people. deal with it or move carriers.

          • SkylaC90

            couldn’t have said it better myself

    • trixnkix637

      That’s why VZW will pry my unlimited data from my cold dead hands. Looking forward to this new AWS network.

      • FelisLachesis

        Why do I have this sinking feeling that if you want on AWS, then you’re going to have to give up unlimited data?

        • Maybe, maybe not. It could be similar to the switch to 4G LTE from 3G….

          Take my situation: I have a Droid X and unlimited data (3G, obviously). When I upgrade (most likely to the S4, I will buy the phone off-contract) and I will retain my unlimited data, but now will be getting 4G service along with 3G for the same price I’ve been paying right along. I tend to think the AWS network might be the same. Who knows though.

        • If so, cue mass exodus to Flavor of the month prepaid carrier.

          • JMonkeYJ

            yes! i’ve already used 2 different prepaid services since i got my N4 as better deals and my usage changed. no contract is so great 🙂

          • opeggysue

            Watch those pre-paid carriers, Straight talk says “unlimited” but you need to did through the terms and conditions and you’ll find out that you will get tagged as a excess user and have your speed cut down to almost nothing!

        • trixnkix637

          I truly hope VZW isn’t THAT diabolical.. though empirical evidence suggest otherwise. If they do, hello AT&T.

      • Ray

        I also am on the VZN unlimited. But DO you think that they will make us give that up to go to AWS?

        • zepfloyd

          No. It’s just more spectrum to roam, like you do now between 850/1900…you won’t even know.

      • Ajmcnicol

        I love the forum people that say “if they do..or dont..i will leave!!” fact is they wont. they still stay on verizon.

        • trixnkix637

          I can only speak for myself in saying that if VZW took away unlimited I’m very much gone. I’m off contract, sick of the updating schedules, not having the best phone options (I really want a HTC One but I’m screwed on VZW), locking bootloaders that other carriers aren’t, and I live in a great network area for all carriers who aren’t Sprint. So again, I dare VZW to give me my wish of owning an HTC One on AT&T. Unlimited data has me by the bullocks, and when that’s gone, I’m free like Django.

    • Scottyb112

      “Utt Ohh, I did 2 speedtests, and now I went over my monthly data limit..Now What?”

    • Tim242

      Unlimited data FTW.

      • Project Xero

        Bro you need to text more.

        • Tim242

          Google Voice FTW! Who wants to pay for text? Haha

          • TylerCameron

            The Google Voice app is ferociously ugly.

          • Tim242

            What’s so bad about it? At least it’s free!

          • aQuickBit

            well I’m glad I got to see the magnifying glass and refresh/sync button!

      • Thomas

        Funny that you post that & your phone is on Wi-Fi.

        • Tim242

          I usually use Wi-Fi when at home. I think it provides slightly better battery life. Even so, I’ve used over 4 gigs in 8 days.

          • aQuickBit

            How? Honestly how do you use that much?

          • Tim242

            Browsing, podcasts, Slacker. I could cut down by caching music, and downloading podcasts, but I have unlimited.

      • Nick

        Damn I text between 16,000-18,000 a month!!!?

        • Tim242

          Damn, how do you have time for anything else? Haha. You should use GV and save some money.

          • MikeCiggy

            Not knocking your plan or anything but those of us who no longer can have unlimited data have unlimited talk and text included with our plan for $40 then we pay on top of that for data.

          • Well, you have to pay attention to what it is you use. I’ve never had a problem with my 700 minute cap (I only ever use 100 max), but I use anywhere between 8GB to 22GB of data. There is no way I could get anything like that for $75 per month.

    • They really need to up the basic data cap to 4GB.

      • TylerCameron

        Yeah remember when they were doing the double data promotion, then stopped… then did it again 2 weeks later? xD
        They should’ve kept doing that! Then they would at least be able to say they offer more for the same price than AT&T and have some imaginary value.

    • Dave

      Are you saying people will use more data with a higher speed network?

    • Brandon Golway

      It’ll benefit them greatly because you’ll be able to blow through that 2 GB cap in minutes instead of hours, then they’ll slam you with overages. I remember seeing somewhere that you could blow through the 2 GB cap in like 2 hours if you really wanted to by streaming HD movies.

  • TLufsey

    I have been told by my Samsung and my Verizon rep that the reason it takes us so long to get phones is because all of our phones are backwards compatible with all of our networks, meaning all of our 1x, CDMA, and 4G LTE networks. I don’t know how true that is is seeing as how sprint also has somewhat of the same network.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Don’t forget the time they need to screw around with the Damn software….. Luke removing the Wifi toggle… Or the blocking features….

      • Yes, thank you! What benefit was it to remove the wifi toggle. Makes me angry. now I’m running custom ROMs in a silent protest!

    • HerbieDerb

      I find it funny that they are “future proofing” a 16GB device (with 9GB free). Where are the 64GB devices?

      • trixnkix637

        SDmicro cards are super affordable these days. No excuse not to have one.

        • BSweetness

          First, I must say that I love having a SD card slot. It’s absence in a phone is a deal-breaker for me since I’m required to carry around large media files on my phone for work-related purposes. I can certainly see how it’s not a deal-breaker for some, but it is for me.

          That said, without the ability to install apps to the SD card (something that is no longer an option in recent versions of Android), a SD card essentially only serves as a place to store personal media files. With the ever-increasing size of apps and HD media with DRM that can’t be placed on the SD card, internal storage is of great importance, regardless of whether or not there is a SD card.

          …and yes, I know you can root your phone and still install apps to the SD card, but that’s something you really shouldn’t have to need root access for. Plus, rooting is something that most consumers aren’t likely to do.

          So internal memory is still an important aspect of a phone, even if there’s a SD card slot.

        • deadpenguins

          And then when app sizes increase, you get shafted anyway.

      • Trueblue711

        Ask Google that.

        • BSweetness

          You can ask Google about Nexus devices, but you’d have to ask Samsung about the internal memory on the S4.

          • Trueblue711

            My point is that Google is purposely encouraging device makers to keep on-board storage small to promote use of their cloud services. Having to root Android just to move apps to the SD card now is one example.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            From what I’ve gathered, the reason for removing the ability to move apps to SD is to make it easier for app developers who will have a consistent place to store their data. Not to mention, internal storage is much faster to access than an SD card, and has much fewer failures and corruptions over time.

            Though I agree that HTC has it right with offering 32GB as a minimum size for the ONE, and that the S4 should have done the same, but I suppose that with the inclusion of the card slot they needed to cut some costs somewhere.

          • Trueblue711

            While that is Google’s public “reason,” the real reason is likely what I said. If the problem is really app developers, they should make it where the SD card can only be used for storing media/extra files, like a flash drive on your computer. That’s what most people want it for anyway — music, movies, and photos.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            I doubt that Google themselves is actively encouraging OEMs to put less internal storage in their devices, though at the same time I doubt they are encouraging larger internal storage capacities, indeed because it generally encourages the use of Drive and other cloud storage options. Honestly, I doubt they really are concerned one way or the other, though providing adequate internal storage does give them more room to work with and provide a better customer experience, so I would encourage moderate (12GB – 28GB available) storage capacities were I them, as those who require large (64GB+) capacities are relatively few, though no less important than the average user.

            As for your suggestion, only the apk itself is restricted to the internal storage. App data and media can be stored on the external SD if the developer chooses to implement the necessary code, but restricting the .apk to internal storage was a good move considering how relatively slow and unreliable external memory and its interface is compared to internal SD memory.

          • umbrellacorp

            I LOL’d.

  • Thomas

    The Verizon S4 needs an OTA ASAP this thing is laggy as all get out 🙁

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      That’s Tocuhwiz for you. It’s just not bloody optimized. Been using both the S4 and the ONE and the experience is like night and day. Surprising since Sense used to be a lagfest. Now Sense 5 runs like butter. Tocuhwiz on the GS4 has this habit of stuttering from time to time…

      • Big EZ

        The Note 2 with touchwiz doesn’t lag at all. I wonder if it’s the processor, or if it’s just not optimized for the processor.

        • Thomas

          This is the worst lag I’ve ever had on any phone. Phones I’ve had on Verizon : DROID Charge > S3 > Note 2 and now the S4. I disabled the animations as folks have said on forum sites, even did a factory reset & still very laggy.

        • Nicholas Ruiz

          Yeah my S3 didn’t have lag issues either. Hopefully the S4 gets an update to fix it. The lag seems to happen to me the most when going in and out of Chrome. Nova launcher helps though. Still love the phone otherwise.

          • schoat333

            Chrome does the same thing on my wifes Razr HD maxx. Wonder if its chrome related, or maybe VZW.

          • Sporttster

            Chrome lags terribly on my Razr Maxx as well…what’s with Chrome?!??? Got so bad most of the time I use the stock deal anymore….

      • jbdan

        My tmo gs4 has nearly zero lag. Stock TW.

    • F22

      If you use a launcher on the S4 instead of Touchwiz, does that reduce or eliminate the lag?

      • rals

        I was just about to ask that as well. I wonder if performance is better when you empty all the icons and widgets from the stock launcher, and replace with something like Nova?

        • Geoff Johnson

          I ran Nova, froze/uninstalled about 30 apps/processes, and the lag was better but it was still there – especially in the camera.

      • Geoff Johnson

        A bit, but apps and changing settings still lags quite a bit.

    • Caleb Martin

      What in the world are you talking about? This is the smoothest phone I’ve seen so far. I have yet to encounter anything that could be even slightly considered lag.

    • zepfloyd

      I’m on day 5 of having mine and it hasn’t lagged once and it’s still TouchWiz. Then again I’ve pretty much turned off all the other S-gimmicks

      • EC8CH


        • bonk


    • Wut? Mine has had zero lag with all the air and motion features on. I am running NOVA launcher and i’m rooted with all bloatware removed. Best phone i’ve ever had (and i’ve had DROID, DroidX, Thunderbolt and GNex). Also the battery life is insane.

      • “i’m rooted with all bloatware removed.”

        Well that is why you have zero lag. People who pay top dollar for flagship phones shouldn’t have to root it in order for it to work properly.

    • Doug Wing

      Are you on crack? The S4 is laggy to you??? I have yet to find any lag at all. I am non-rooted stock with as much crapware disabled as possible. 108 Google Play apps installed.

    • Lonnie Kerchief

      Turn off Smart screen.

  • SkylaC90

    I knew it, I told everyone that that was the reason for the delay. there is no other reason, so common sense is that every new phone Verizon releases will support AWS because there turning it on soon.

  • Josh C

    Check out the X Phone FCC filing. It has LTE Band 4 support, which is AWS. Safe to say it can take advantage of AWS as well?

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Guess we’ll see next month.

    • Allen Yates

      My guess is all future Verizon phones will now support it.

  • Dude

    Cool, but most people want to upgrade their phone when their 2 year upgrade is available because of new technology in phones. How likely is it that S4 users will keep their phone past the 2 year mark because of AWS? If Verizon even uses AWS within 2 years…

    • MotoRulz

      Agree.. Also how likely is it that Verizon would want to make AWS active in an older phone versus selling you a new phone? Quick answer NOT

      • Justin Winker

        True, but they know that you are unlikely to buy a new phone 6 months after your contract began. They should be using this as a selling feature, but I guess that makes no sense since they can’t sell a feature they haven’t even announced they are working on yet.

  • Jaxon Wright

    Seems pretty cool. Good job, VZW