What is VZW?
VZW stands for Verizon Wireless, currently the largest wireless phone and mobile telecommunications provider in the United States, with an estimated 102 million network subscribers as of 2011. The company is currently based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and is actually a joint venture created by the partnership of U.S. telecommunications giant Verizon Communications and British-owned international mobile carrier Vodafone.
Verizon is the majority partner in this venture, owning 55 percent of VZW. In 2009. Verizon Wireless acquired the popular network provider Alltel Wireless for an estimated $28 billion. This acquisition allowed Verizon to greatly expand its network coverage in the United States. Verizon Wireless, along with Sprint Nextel, is one of the only major US carriers to use CDMA technology with their network, and is by far the largest firm to do so in the United States. It maintains this market share by investing $5.7 billion annually on maintaining and expanding this CDMA network on a nationwide basis. Previously, Verizon Wireless supported three generations of CDMA networks,IS-95, 1x, and EV-DO. However, in 2010 it released its brand new LTE network, which operates on the faster 4G standard. Initially, only two modems capable of running on this network were available for purchase. In 2011 though, Verizon Wireless began releasing the first of ten devices that will run on LTE, including five smart phones, two netbooks, and two tablet computers. Additionally, Verizon Wireless also offers such options as voice service, wireless broadband, video-on-demand, and text and image messaging on all of their networks. In 2010, Verizon Wireless came under attack from the FCC for erroneously charging customers without data plans up to $1.99/MB for accessing free websites. Verizon reached a settlement in this case in which they paid out over $50 million to 15 million customers to correct their mistake and were ordered to provide plain-language explanations for all data plans in the future.