We have seen the Sprint 4G ads for a while now, this week we started seeing T-Mobile in the mix, announcing their 4G network. Now Verizon says it will be launching its 4G LTE Network by the end of this year. Following suit with its 4G predecessors though, it will not be available to everyone in the country.
Verizon 4G is set to be launched in 38 major markets, as well as over 60 airports. In addition, Purdue University in West Lafayette Indiana (one of the 38 4G networks) will be implementing a fully integrated Verizon 4G network on their campus. Verizon says that this initial launch should cover about 110 Million people, but they plan to have doubled that coverage in 2012, and complete the coverage to match their 3G coverage by the end of 2013. Using the 3GPP (LTE) technology means that Verizon’s 4G network will be superior to any other 4G network around at this point, including Sprint’s WiMAX “4G” network, and T-Mobile’s HSPA+ “4G” Network. The reason I put 4G in quotes there is because WiMAX and HSPA+ don’t actually meet the requirements to be considered a true 4G network. AT&T Plans to start testing their LTE Network in the near future, and has actually already upgraded their 3G network to HSPA+, but is not claiming it to be 4G like T-Mobile is doing. The Verizon 4G network should have download speeds of 5-12 Mbps and upload speeds comparable to the current speeds of their 3G network, 1-2 Mbps download and 50 Kbps – 1 Mbps upload.
So you’re probably asking yourself… “Will I have 4G this year?” Well, the answer is probably no. First of all, you may not live in any of the 38 areas. The updated Verizon map with 4G coverage cities highlighted can be found here: http://vzw.com/4g . The other thing that might keep you from enjoying 4G coverage right off the bat is the fact that Verizon isn’t planning on releasing any 4G handsets until the middle of 2011. So unless you use mobile aircards or USB modems, you wont be enjoying 4G for a little while yet. Verizon is planning to sell the LG VL600 and Pantech UML290 USB modems at launch to run on their 4G network.
As Verizon takes a commanding lead in the race for 4G, developing a true 4G network, and releasing it in more practical cities than Sprint, things should only get better for all mobile data users. Competition is always a good thing.