Verizon Wireless has just announced that it will have its LTE service up and running this weekend. This 4G network will bring significantly faster data transfer speeds to mobile subscribers in metropolitan areas across the U.S.
The first phase of this service will be available in 38 major metropolitan areas, covering more than 110 million Americans (A complete list of cities is available in the Brighthand Forums). This service will also be available in a large number of airports around the country.
But this is just the beginning. Dan Mead, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless, said today, “We will quickly expand 4G LTE, and by 2013 will reach the existing Verizon Wireless 3G coverage area.”
Verizon has been touting its LTE network for months, but until now it has kept quiet about pricing. It has just revealed the details of two 4G service plans.
One option will give users a 5 GB monthly allowance for $50. For $80, subscribers can get 10 GB of data transfers. There will be an additional $10 fee per gigabyte of overage.
Modems Not Smartphones
At Sunday’s launch, Verizon is only going to have a single USB modem to give laptops access to this 4G service. The LG VL600 will be available on Sunday, and the Pantech UML290 will be released soon thereafter.
Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, said recently that customers will have to wait until February for the first smartphone with LTE support.
Information leaking out of this carrier indicates that the first phone with this high-speed service could be the HTC Droid Incredible HD, an Android OS-based model with a very large display and other cutting-edge features.
Several more smartphones and tablets that can access this high-speed network are scheduled for release by the middle of 2011.
More about LTE
Verizon Wireless expects 4G LTE average data rates to be 5-12 megabits per second (Mbps) on the downlink and 2-5 Mbps on the uplink in real-world, loaded network environments.
LTE is a data-only service, so Verizon’s first-generation LTE models are expected to also offer support for its voice-only network that uses the CDMA standard. These models will also include the 3G standard EV-DO.