Of course, seeing how Verizon was one of the earliest and most staunch supporters of LTE in the mobile operator world, it comes as no huge shocker that Big Red has earned itself a seat on the GSM Association's 26 member- and 13 carrier-strong board of directors -- especially now that it's a full, card-carrying member of the GSMA as a whole -- but still, feels a bit weird, doesn't it? From a PR perspective, we're figuring Verizon wanted to have this wrapped up before it stages its first commercial 4G launches later this year, but at any rate, it's official: you're now welcome to call Verizon "a GSM carrier. What about you, Sprint? Follow the break for the full press release.

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Verizon EVP and CTO Dick Lynch Appointed to GSMA Board

21 June 2010, London: The GSMA today announced that Dick Lynch, EVP and CTO of Verizon, a leading telecommunications operator in the U.S., has been appointed to the GSMA's Board. Lynch's appointment follows Verizon gaining full membership to the GSMA as a result of its commitment to deploy commercial services based on Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the next-generation technology for Mobile Broadband and part of the GSM family of technologies, in 2010.

"We are delighted to welcome Dick and Verizon to the GSMA Board," said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board of the GSMA. "A leader in the worldwide mobile communications industry through its delivery of innovative new services and as an early adopter of advanced technologies such as LTE, Verizon brings additional depth and experience to the GSMA Board. Dick's expertise and leadership will be a tremendous asset as we work to identify and capitalise on new opportunities for our industry."

Lynch, who has nearly 40 years experience in the mobile communications industry, said: "It is an honour to serve on the GSMA board. I expect that our new relationships with the broad global family of wireless companies will bring benefits to the American marketplace. This collaboration and outreach is significant as we build a full ecosystem around LTE, bringing together partners to build and grow our network, design new products, and put together the incredible new services that will make our lives better."

Under Lynch's leadership, Verizon Wireless* is on track to deploy LTE commercially in 25 to 30 markets across the US this year. The number of markets is expected to double within 15 months of the initial launch, and by the end of 2013, Verizon's entire 3G footprint, covering 285 million Americans, is expected to be covered by the next-generation Mobile Broadband technology. Verizon Wireless is simultaneously working with other companies serving less-populated areas to bring the benefits of a coordinated LTE service to rural Americans quickly.

More than 100 operators from around the world have so far committed to plans, trials or deployments for LTE. The world's first commercial LTE network was launched in Sweden in 2009 by TeliaSonera, with NTT DoCoMo and China Telecom on track to join Verizon Wireless in deploying commercial LTE services by the end of this year. LTE is expected to experience substantial growth over the coming years with Infonetics Research predicting the number of global LTE connections to exceed 72 million by 2013**.

The GSMA Board consists of thirteen of the largest operator groups in the world and twelve other operator members that are nominated to reflect the needs of smaller, independent organisations within the mobile industry and to ensure global representation. Members include America Movil, AT&T, Axiata, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, China Unicom, France Telecom, Hutchison Whampoa, KT Corporation, MTN, MTS, NTT DoCoMo, Orascom Telecom, Singapore Telecom, SK Telecom, Smart, Softbank, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telekom Austria, Telenor, T-Mobile International, Verizon, VimpelCom and Vodafone.

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