Verizon says it now expects to introduce a smartphone that can access its nascent 4G Wireless Network around the middle of next year. Previously, this carrier had thought the launch of its first LTE-based handset would be near the end of 2011.
Laptop users will have access to this 4G network before then, with access beginning late this year, according to Anthony Melone, Verizon’s CTO,
At launch, this carrier’s LTE network will be available only in limited areas. so the initial products will also offer support for the 3G standard EV-DO.
With the launch of the first smartphone with LTE access around 15 months away, Melone was not willing to divulge any other details on the hardware, not even which operating system this device might use.
More about LTE
This carrier is building a network using a wireless standard called Long Term Evolution (LTE) which will offer data transfer speeds much higher than current 3G networks.
According to trials held in Verizon’s test markets of Boston and Seattle, this 4G network will offer average download speeds of 5-12 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 2-5 Mbps in real-world environments. Engineers tested it by streaming video, going file uploads and downloads, and browsing the Web.
This carrier plans to offer LTE service in 25 to 30 U.S. markets covering roughly 100 million people by year’s end.
LTE is a data-only service, so making voice calls requires using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software. It’s not clear of Verizon plans to hold onto its voice-only service cellular-wireless network that uses CDMA.
A Popular Choice
Two of Verizon’s top rivals, AT&T and T-Mobile, have also chosen to base their future 4G networks on LTE, raising the possibility that, in the future, phones could be cross-compatible with all three of these.
Sprint is the odd man out, as it has picked WiMAX as the standard for its 4G network. But it does have a significant advantage over its competitors: Sprint’s 4G network is available now. It currently offers average download speeds of 2-4 Mbps