largest wireless carrier, Verizon Wireless, this morning officially
kicked off its push for 4G. The company has launched its
next generation wireless technology in
38 markets, which it says will cover 110 million
Americans. Tony Melone, the company's Chief
Technology Officer claims that the network will generally offer a 10
times performance boost over current EV-DO network (3G). It
will offer real world speeds of 5 to 12Mbps down and 2 to 5Mbps up --
several times 3G data speeds in many areas. It will also cut
the latency approximately in half from current 3G
technology.Verizon has "a very aggressive plan" to
offer nationwide 4G coverage by 2013. To do that it will be
making use of its recently purchased spectrum in the 700 MHz
range.While it did not announce any new 4G-ready smartphones
or laptops quite yet (apparently Sprint's
Galaxy Tab, Epic
4G, and EVO
4G are still in a league of their own), it did announce two
new 4G USB modems from LG and Pantech will each cost $99.99 USD after
$50 rebate. The first two modems will land exclusively in
Verizon stores on December 5. More modems are coming within
weeks, and all are backwards compatible with Verizon's 3G
network. The modems will come with a choice of two
4G data plans -- $50/month for 5GB or $80/month for 10GB.
Overages will cost $10 USD/GB, a pretty reasonable rate, compared to
Verizon's past wireless modem overage rates, which could total a
couple thousand dollars for going several gigabytes over. [Ed.
- Personal experience!]Reportedly
some of the new modems don't work with Apple computers, according
who tested one of the devices. Perhaps Apple is saying "no"
to 4G, like it is USB
upgrades.Another limitation is that while the modems can
jump from 4G to 3G in areas of intermittent coverage, they can't jump
back until data transmission is ceased (e.g. the network is
disconnected)."Other devices", i.e. 4G smartphones
and tablets will likely be announced at CES and will launch in "mid
2011" according to Verizon's presentation. Verizon
finished its presentation with a bit of humor -- "Whether you
call it 4G or chicken soup, it launches this Sunday."It
also revealed during the Q&A that it might merge its 3G and LTE
efforts in 2012 or 2013, around the time when it hopes to start
transmitted voice information (phone calls) over its LTE channels.
Currently LTE will exclusively work with the company's data
offerings.There's plenty to take home from Verizon's
announcement. LTE is arguably significantly superior to
HSPA+ (actually 3.5G) that T-Mobile offers. But
T-Mobile has the edge in that it currently offers
3.5G smartphones, while Verizon's offerings presumably won't land
until mid-next year. Similarly Verizon has even
more to worry about from Sprint Nextel, who currently is selling true
tablets and smartphones. On the plus side for
Verizon, though, its deployment does seem fairly aggressive --
covering one third of Americans with a next generation data network
is nothing to sneer at. And the company seems well ahead of
AT&T, which looks to be late
to the gate in the 4G generation (AT&T currently
"LTE-ready" broadband cards, but its LTE network won't
come online until next year). With that said, AT&T
currently has the fastest
overall nationwide data network, according to several surveys, so
Verizon also has to worry about that.And it's important to
consider that while T-Mobile and especially Sprint may be a bit ahead
of Verizon, they're America's fourth and third largest wireless
providers, respectively, while Verizon is the largest. Thus
lack of visibility and reputation may result in these companies being
unable to fully capitalize on their technology advantage, in the
brief window that it exists.
quote: Not designed to replace your Comcast/FIOS service.
quote: I disagree with your assessment. There is no difference if it's wireless or wired other then the fact that they both run similar wired fiber optic & copper ground work...
quote: Doesn't Sprint have a $10 fee for 4G capable devices regardless of if you are even in range of 4G?
quote: I think the current LTE standard that Verizon, AT&T and the rest of the world will use has an absolute maximum bandwidth of 380mbs using all 20mhz and four MIMO antennas. Probably also within a mile of the tower.
quote: It also revealed during the Q&A that it might merge its 3G and LTE efforts in 2012 or 2013, around the time when it hopes to start transmitted voice information (phone calls) over its LTE channels. Currently LTE will exclusively work with the company's data offerings.
quote: Perhaps Apple is saying "no" to 4G, like it is USB 3.0, Blu-ray, Flash, and SSD upgrades.