Verizon Wireless to turn on LTE on Sunday
Outlines two capped data plans and two dongles, covering one-third of the US population
Published: 2 December, 2010
After almost two years of speculation and build-up, Verizon Wireless will turn on its first LTE networks on Sunday, and has announced the first details of its pricing and devices strategy.
Verizon will initially launch LTE data-only services in 38 major metros plus more than 60 commercial airports. The data service will cost $50 per month for up to 5Gb a month or $80 for up to 10Gb, and users then pay an extra $10 per Gbyte for additional usage.
The first devices will be two laptop dongles that support LTE and CDMA EV-DO. The first will be the VL600 from LG, available at launch on December 5, and soon afterwards Verizon will offer the Pantech UML290. The modems will cost $100 after a $50 rebate with a new two-year data plan. Other modems will follow, and then handsets are expected in mid-2011 as well as the long awaited tablet, expected to be made by Motorola and tied into Verizon's FiOS broadband/TV services.
Although Verizon expects to use the transition to LTE as the trigger for usage-based pricing, many were surprised how close its first 4G data plans are to 3G pricing.
Dan Mead, CEO of Verizon Wireless, said in his statement that the new network, in 700MHz spectrum, "immediately reaches more than one-third of all Americans where they live and by 2013 will reach the existing Verizon Wireless 3G coverage area." The cellco says latency on its LTE network will be half of what users currently experience on its 3G network.
Verizon now goes head-to-head with Clearwire and its main MVNO, Sprint, in offering mobile broadband services in many metro areas. Last week Clearwire crossed the 100m POPs mark when it turned on WiMAX services in some large markets such as Los Angeles and Miami. AT&T, which will start rolling out LTE towards the end of next year, and T-Mobile, which has no 4G spectrum or partnership as yet, will be playing catch-up.