Verizon Wireless set to launch LTE network on Sunday
Verizon Wireless announced today that it will introduce Long Term Evolution (LTE) service on Dec. 5, launching the service in its previously announced 38 markets and 60 airports.
The operator, which calls the deployment the world’s first large-scale 4G LTE network, is touting data speeds of 5-12 Mbps on the downlink with extensive coverage — at least 70% — in each of the markets. Collectively, the markets have a population of more than 110 million. Verizon plans to expand its footprint to cover roughly 200 million Americans by 2012, and to more than 285 million by 2013.
Verizon is offering a USB modem from LG with two simple data plans: $50 for 5 GB of data per month and $80 for 10 GB of data. If subscribers go over their data allotments, they pay an extra $10 for each GB they use. Customers also have to sign a two-year agreement and pay $100 for the modem after a $50 rebate. Another modem from Pantech also is expected to come to market soon.
The plans undercut Verizon’s current 3G rate plans by about $10. Verizon Wireless CTO Tony Melone said during a conference call that the company did so to attract subscribers — especially road warriors since the operator is focused on covering airports, some of which do not lie in Verizon’s footprint yet.
Clearly, Verizon wants to focus heavily on the capabilities of its LTE network. Melone spent a significant amount of time touting the benefits of the network and characterizing it as a quantum leap from anything on the market today.
“This is the real deal. It’s a brand new network from the ground up that is side by side our 3G network,” Melone said. “It’s based on the latest technical standards. It will provide a launching pad for the future of mobile communications for the next 10 years.”
He added that network speed is only half the equation. Network latency, he said, is roughly half of what is experienced today on the company’s 3G network. “It almost mirrors the latency on a wired network,” he said. “Other technologies cannot match that latency characteristic of LTE.”
Verizon said it will give more details about LTE smart phones during the Consumer Electronics trade show in Las Vegas at the beginning of January.
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