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Verizon Wireless is kicking off its 4G efforts by launch two modems on Sunday. Phones and tablets won't land until midway next year.  (Source: Verizon)
Two new modems will be available on Sunday, but no 4G smartphones or tablets

America's 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 TabEpic 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 to 
Engadget, who tested one of the devices.  Perhaps Apple is saying "no" to 4G, like it is USB 3.0Blu-ray, Flash, and SSD 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 the "4G-like" 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 4G-enabled 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 offers "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.



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RE: Ahaha
By TheRequiem on 12/1/2010 4:58:46 PM , Rating: 2
The whole purpose of LTE and WiMAX and other 4G Advanced technologies is to provide wireless broadband, which goes way beyond smart phone use. This is not a reasonable or justifiable argument on the matter. 5gb caps are RIDICULOUS for this day and age. People want wireless broadband more for their computers, not their cell phones, hence the 4G LTE Laptop cards. 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... and so what if everyone wants to use data on their laptops for movie streaming, it's broadband and that's what it's suppose to be for. Businesses do video-conferencing and transfer large files (100+ mb's is not uncommon for big corporations sicne again, it's 2010).

This is plain and simply a scheme to nickle and dime everyone to death and it's not a good idea and I hope people don't buy into it. If it was such a big issue for them, they would announce very expensive uncapped plans. Instead, they have announced plans designed to rob us. 5gb caps are for people who don't use internet much, which is fine, but we are in an exponentially growing data-centric information age and we need more bandwith and uncapped speeds. Files and software are much larger and so are our ever increasing video codecs and streaming abilities. These plans are useless, absolutely useless for anyone who really needs the data. I guess there is always Sprint/ Clear who offer the same speeds with uncapped data and for cheaper. Seams like a no-brainer.


RE: Ahaha
By omnicronx on 12/1/2010 5:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
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...
Every tower and its 20Mhz slice can only handle so many users, it does not matter if its 3G,LTE, or LTE advanced. The difference between wireless and wired is that we have cable nodes parked under ground very closely together (perhaps 10-15 blocks apart). On the otherhand we DONT have a bunch of cell phone towers placed within that kind of promixity.

Its a numbers game, and they quite simply don't add up with what you are saying.

Anyone who thinks that Wireless can replace wired anytime soon in urban environments are sadly mistaken. What I think is far more feasible is a replacement for those that live in rural environments.. (this was also a big part of selling off the 700mhz spectrum)

Do carriers still charge us too much for data? Yes.. yes they do.. But we need much higher caps, not unlimited access for all.. Just ask an AT&T user what it feels like to be connected to a bogged down tower...


RE: Ahaha
By TheRequiem on 12/1/2010 5:52:38 PM , Rating: 2
And that is all I am saying... Lower cost for low caps and introduce higher cost for higher caps. There's not even a single user on their 4g yet and if they want to grow into the "largest 4g network" then they are out of their minds with these plans. Both Sprint and Clear have millions of users on their 4g running hundreds of thousands of computers and dont have these issues, they publicly stated so and they are uncapped and same speed so I still don't these arguments are valid. Verizon needs to reduce cost and put the money where their mouth is.


RE: Ahaha
By mcnabney on 12/1/2010 5:22:31 PM , Rating: 3
They can't sell very expensive all-you-can-eat plans forever. They did for a while, but as the networks got saturated they needed to segment the market. This is exactly how you segment the market.

Consider data access a utility. A little bit like a water bill or trash pickup. There is a flat fee if you want a typical, perhaps even generous amount of service, but high atypical use costs more.

I would even argue that cable, DSL, and even wireless carriers should charge a flat connect fee - say between $10-20 a month, and then you pay for exactly what you use. The connect and per MB/GB charges would be a bit higher for wireless, but it would at least reflect a person's actual charges.

But somehow I don't think this is what you guys want. You want a low price and to use all you want. You know, have cake and eat it too. Who knew this board was full of parasitic hippies?


RE: Ahaha
By TheRequiem on 12/1/2010 6:07:15 PM , Rating: 2
A pricing plan like that wouldn't work and I don't think you know what you are talking about to be quite frank. Come up with a valid point, all you can eat food is not a valid comparison, because they work and have healthy margins... The fact is, lol, is Verizon is eating our money away and at a much faster rate then how fast we can consume food!


RE: Ahaha
By mcnabney on 12/1/2010 11:37:50 PM , Rating: 2
ROTFLMAO

Truest me, I have forgotten more about wireless than you will ever know.


RE: Ahaha
By TheRequiem on 12/2/2010 3:15:59 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, I'll "truest" you... =)

Meanwhile, the concept is less about wireless intellectuality and more about getting charged more and more for less.


RE: Ahaha
By mcnabney on 12/2/2010 9:18:09 AM , Rating: 2
Apparently you haven't been paying attention. Prices have been falling at the big 4 American providers. Remember, back when EVDO(rev0) and EDGE were new? They wanted $80 for service. Then prices dropped down to $60 (and the 5GB cap appeared). Now they are dropping it to $50 and creating a new $80 bucket with a 10GB cap. It appears to me that prices keep dropping and dropping and speeds keep going up and up. In contrast I have been getting 10up/.5 down from Road Runner for the last seven years. Speed hasn't gone up, price hasn't gone down.
Also, I believe that before caps they used legalese against the heavy users. The contracts stipulated a number of unacceptable uses for the service which included any PTP, webcam/videocam updates, backups, and telemetry. They would actually disconnect and charge the ETF when the identified this behavior. Now they don't care what you do, just keep it under the cap.


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