4G

Verizon LTE 4G will go live Dec 5; pricing starts at $50 for 5GB

Verizon Wireless will light up its long-awaited LTE 4G network on Sunday, December 5. See how much it will cost and learn the plans for LTE devices.

Verizon Wireless will light up its long-awaited LTE 4G network on Sunday, December 5 in all 38 of the US metropolitan areas and all 60 US airports previously promised. To start, it will only be available for data modems and will cost $50/month for 5GB/month and $80/month for 10GB, with overage costs of $10 per GB. The announcement was made by Verizon Wireless CTO Tony Malone at a teleconference On Wednesday.

Malone said that the speed of the Verizon 4G network will be 10 times faster than its current 3G network and that users can expect 5-12Mbps for downloads and 2-5Mbps for uploads when the network is fully saturated with users. In the meantime, users will occasionally experience even faster speeds. Verizon gave the example that with this type of performance you could download a 10MB presentation in less than 10 seconds.

Malone also stated that latency on the 4G network will be half of what it is on 3G and that it nearly mirrors traditional wired networks. Latency is the delay it takes data to get from one point to another and is one of the other major factors in perceived network "speed." Verizon also promised that its new 4G network will have the same standards of reliability that its 3G network has become known for.

When LTE goes live on Sunday, customers will be able to see street-level coverage maps and will be able to purchase 4G USB modems at Verizon Wireless retail stores and the company's online store. The 4G modems will cost $99 after a $50 rebate and a two-year contract. The modems also work on Verizon's 3G network when outside of the 4G coverage area.

Smartphones that run on Verizon's LTE network won't be available until the first half of 2011 when vendors start embedding 4G chips into the phones. Verizon reiterated that we'll hear a lot more about upcoming LTE devices at CES 2011 in January. Naturally, the biggest speculation is around whether Verizon and Apple will partner to deliver a 4G version of the iPhone.

Malone said to expect a lot of devices and apps to jump on the LTE bandwagon. "It will provide the launching pad for mobile broadband for the next 10 years."

The December 5 launch will light up all 38 major metropolitan markets at once. It will cover a third of the US population and it goes live in 60 airports as well so that road warriors have 4G connectivity while they're traveling. Verizon also emphasized that its LTE network will cover virtually the entire I-95 northeast corridor (Washington, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston) and draws a big circle around the San Francisco / Silicon Valley area as well. Verizon also mentioned that it's largest market in size and population is Southern Californi, covering Los Angeles and San Diego and the surrounding communities.

"We're not stopping here," said Malone. He said Verizon plans to blanket its entire 3G coverage area with 4G by the end of 2013.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

17 comments
spinner41
spinner41

It would be nice if they would finish the 3G network first.

eferrell
eferrell

If they can push out 4G then there isn't really a huge push to finish their 3G network. Smartphones will be moving towards 4G standardization soon enough, and the dumb phones will follow. 4G's range is much greater than that of 3G so I can see them getting a larger coverage area of 4G than 3G when they roll out. It's their only way to compete with Verizon's ad campaign of bashing AT&T's lack of 3G coverage.

ITOdeed
ITOdeed

The insatiable greed of Verizon is appalling. This plan makes AT&T look good.

Hazydave
Hazydave

Give AT&T a chance.. they aren't rolling out their LTE "4G" network until next summer. And they're permanently set with half the RF bandwidth (thus, pretty much, half the LTE bandwidth) of Verizon. So we'll see how they actually compare.

mike.pulaski
mike.pulaski

Verizon has the most expensive plans and just got more expensive. I have Sprint and 4g already and I can guarantee I'm paying LESS than Verizon smart-phone users are with 3G! Verizon cares nothing about its customers other than they shell out more money for "extras". Since when did data become an extra and something to charge separately for? I can't wait to see what kind of surcharge Verizon puts on the 4G handsets. No doubt it will cap the data at some ridiculous rate and make it yet ANOTHER fee for tethering...if they even allow it. Verizon handicaps their phones with crapware and hardware clamps to stop smartphone users from doing anything but using email, checking facebook, and of course, ONLY being able to use their navigation apps...at yet ANOTHER fee! Yet people are sheep and will stick with Verizon because "they have the best network". Their advertising certainly works! People still act like its 1992 and worried about dropped calls. ITS YOUR PHONE not the network that drops calls. Regardless, prepare for Verizon and AT&T to duke it out in 4G at YOUR expense. Love it!!

tracy.walters
tracy.walters

I have several business associates with AT&T, and their dropped call rate is a matter of great humor with all of us. One of the people with an iPhone had to go out on the porch of his house to use his phone until he purchased a 'hot spot' from AT&T...essentially a mini-cell for his house that hooks to his Internet, and turns his Cell Phone into a VoIP phone....and he lives on the outskirts of Atlanta. Hmm...seems like he would get coverage, don't you think? On the other hand, with Verizon, I get decent coverage where I'm at...only losing it when I'm about 80 miles out in the country, in the center of Montana. AT&T doesn't even have a signal here. As to cost, I pay about $200 a month for four phones, 1600 minutes a month for non-Verizon numbers (in addition I get 10 numbers per line that I can make unlimited calls to by designating them in my online account management tool). One of the phones is a Blackberry and I get unlimited data and Internet on it, which makes up the bulk of the monthly amount. I also get the Verizon Navigator GPS mapping tool. I'm curious what the rest of you pay.

mike.pulaski
mike.pulaski

As per my other post, I pay $150/month for 3 smartphones, 1300 minutes, and unlmited EVERYTHING with Sprint. That includes 4G on my Evo and "free" navigation. It cracks me up that Verizon want to charge you to have the privilige of using their navigation product. you can do other navigation products, but they make it so it defaults to using cell towers to get it done and then GPS. Compete BS.

l_creech
l_creech

I pay Sprint 99 for Simply Everything Unlimited, 10 for premium data add-on, 7 for insurance, and the associated taxes/fees every month for a total of $136.01. My current phone is Samsung Epic 4G, rooted to enable native wifi tethering and full file system encryption on my microSD card. My plan includes unlimited minutes to any land or mobile number and unlimited (no cap) data even when roaming off network. I average over 4000 minutes a month on the phone with various government agencies dealing with compliance issues. Less than 200 minutes of that went to mobile phones last cycle. Last billing cycle I used 192,311,804KB of data according to "MySprint" website. Someone care to do the math and see what that would cost me on Verizon?

Hazydave
Hazydave

when companies duke it out, consumers usually win. Let's hope that's what happens. We lose when the opposite happens -- artificial competition. Like Coke and Pepsi... they sell based on things that have very little to do with the actual drink, but never flinch on price. Which is just what the cellphone providers were doing until this year. Last year, T-Mo and Sprint were pretty much playing the same game as AT&T and Verizon, but it wasn't working so well... and the new guys (Cricket, MetroPCS) were having some real success by not playing that game. So things could be radically different in a year or so, IF they really do duke it out. My fear is that they just pretend to compete.

Hazydave
Hazydave

I'm on a family plan, and rarely use voice. It cost me exactly $30/month additional to go from dumb phone on Verizon to unlimited 3G smart phone on Verizon. They're also the only network that fully covers my house (rural South Jersey). At least last I checked, AT&T was hit or miss indoors, T-Mobile only worked outside on the back porch, and Sprint only at the end of my driveway (1/4 mile from the house). Every carrier has their own carefully phrased claims, but Verizon really does have the best 3G coverage. They're the largest, and like Sprint (but unlike T-Mo and AT&T), they didn't need any new bandwidth for 3G -- EvDO runs in the same 2.5MHz as 2G+Voice. So every Verizon cell is a 3G cell, and they were finished with it years ago. I suspect the same is true for Sprint, but they have less overall coverage, and particularly important for rural coverage, Sprint (like T-Mobile) doesn't have low frequency slots. Verizon has EvDO at 850MHz, a big advantage over 1900MHz when there are buildings and especially trees to worry about. As for dropped calls, it's both. And it's technology. AT&T users get more dropped calls because iPhones have crappy antennas, sure. But also because they only have about 1/5 of their network on 3G, and GSM 2G does hard handoffs between cells. That means the phone has to completely drop off one cell before it picks up on the other, and that's where many if not most dropped calls occur. CDMA2000 (as well as everyone's 3G and 4G technologies) do soft handoffs.. the phone can maintain contact with three different cells, and only drop the current one when the call is successfully routed and working on the next cell. Thus, much fewer dropped calls. Of course, this can't help you when you drive off the end of the network. And not all of Verizon's phones are as bad as you say. My original Droid, for example, is a Google Experience phone... no Motorola or Verizon interference allowed. If it comes time to replace it, and they have Bing! and other evils on all their Android phones, maybe I'll see if Sprint has fixed their network issues in my area yet.

mike.pulaski
mike.pulaski

I pay $150/month for 3 smartphones, 1300 minutes, and unlimited EVERYTHING with Sprint. That includes 4G, unlimited data, text, and included navigation. I GUARANTEE that there is no way a Verizon plan can come close to that. While your coverage might be good for your particular exact location, Verizon is still getting at least 25% above market rate out of you. Once they add 4G and you get a new phone, expect to pay even more...guaranteed. Thats the part that just turns me off about Verizon.

reportug
reportug

I agree whole-heartedly that Verizon costs more than any other provider, but I made the switch to Verizon after years of memorizing where the best coverage was around town to make or receve wireless calls. When I started a new job where I was given a Verizon phone and wireless card, my eyes were immediately opened to how limited my Spring coverage truely was. I have travelled to quite a few remote locations and never once had trouble with my work phone. As soon as my Sprint contract expired, I made the switch to Verizon and have yet to look back.

l_creech
l_creech

Pricing is way out of line when compared to Clear or even Sprint (which uses Clear). Sprint and Clear don't have usage caps on bandwidth if you are in a "4G" coverage area, they do for 3G and out of network roaming though. Clear has 4g+3g hotspot service @$55/month plus $9.99/month if you lease device ($225 to buy the hotspot). Unlimited 4G, 5Gb 3G. Sprint has the same service for $59.99/month with a $49.99 Overdrive Hotspot (web price special at time of posting). Sprint limits roaming data to 300Mb. Either of these is a better solution for a heavy user. If Verizon brings their plans in line with Clear/Sprint, then they will have an advantage overall; but they have to remove the caps.

Hazydave
Hazydave

My office is in Philly... given that Comcast is the other big partner in the Clear consortium (Sprint owns something like 49% of Clear, Comcast, the former Clearwire, Google, Intel and a few others are in as well... and of course, Sprint's 3G EvDO network is their backup), Philly was one of the first WiMax "4G" rollouts. And they're pricing it fairly enough, IF you're in a WiMax coverage area. Sprint's advantage is bandwidth -- they have 90MHz of spectrum in many areas. So they can add infrastructure as necessary to support a crazy number of customers. Verizon's advantage is frequency.. they're at 700MHz. So they have less path loss, less loss through buildings and trees. Also, LTE at the device end is not using OFDM modulations anymore, so it's much lower power than WiMax or even 3G. They have more of a long-term need to limit clients... but I agree, the pricing looks pretty stupid. If you scare everyone away, you don't have any over-subscription problems, that's for sure. And as well, migrating heavy-use customers to 4G will help them. Which is the point of the PC connect kit, I guess... that's not expensive compared to Verizon's stand-alone 3G... just everyone else's. As well, in the "4G" world, only Sprint/Clear/Comcast is unlimited. AT&T's not out yet, and T-Mobile, not using anything close to actual 4G technologies, is keeping the same 5GB 3G caps as everyone else. So Verizon may find the competition limited enough to pull this off, for awhile anyway.

tracy.walters
tracy.walters

We already have Verizon aircards embedded in all our 70+ company Dell laptops, for which we pay $50 a month for 5GB. We'll definitely go for the 4G at the same price. Verizon services WAY more of the country with data capability than the competitors. Other than a couple places in NorCal and New York, we usually have aircard coverage when nobody else can get it. In the NorCal areas, AT&T seems to have a lock on both data and cell coverage. Out in 'flyover' country, Verizon is everywhere, AT&T and the others are rare to non-existent. Maybe that doesn't mean much to a lot of you, but a lot of our clients are in those areas, and it's great to have service while at their facilities.

eferrell
eferrell

I was about to say the same thing. I just don't understand why providers keep putting bandwidth limitations on plans. Terrible pricing compared to Clear with the 5 GB cap.