Verizon Readies '4G' for December
A source tells LR Mobile that Verizon is planning initial deployments of LTE in cities in the US this December. This jibes with what the operator has said all along but is a little later than the previously rumored launch date of Nov. 15. (See Verizon Breathing Down Sprint's 4G Neck.)
A Heavy Reading analyst LR Mobile contacted about the rumored launch date is expecting that business travelers are likely the initial target market for Verizon across an initially limited footprint of cities.
"I expect Verizon Wireless to launch the first wave of its LTE services in less than 20 markets with 4G data cards initially targeting enterprise and business customers looking for faster mobile broadband performance from their connected notebooks, netbooks and tablets," said Berge Ayvazian, senior consultant at Heavy Reading. LTE will offer users data downloads up to ten times faster than current 3G networks with average speeds between 5 to 12 Mbit/s. The operator is expected to launch with data cards supporting the new technology. LTE smartphones are expected to follow in the first half of 2011. The technology is expected to enable faster uploads and downloads of more data-intensive applications such as video streaming.
Verizon itself now says that "4G is almost here," but isn't offering up an exact launch date yet. The Basking Ridge, N.J.-based operator has said that it will launch mobile broadband services in up to 30 cities around the US by the end of the year. (See Verizon's LTE: How Much More $$ Than 3G? and Counting Down to LTE.)
Over the weekend, Verizon launched a new site where potential Long-Term Evolution users can sign up for updates on the new broadband technology. The company last said that it was planning friendly trials of the new technology. (See CTIA 2010: Verizon LTE Gets Friendly.)
Verizon's major rival, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), will lag behind with the new technology. A company executive said last week that AT&T is planning its initial launch of LTE in mid-2011. (See AT&T Bulks Up HD Streams, LTE Plans .)
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile