Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

Summary:Verizon Wireless confirmed that the HTC Thunderbolt lands on St. Patrick's Day and the timing is notable. After all, you may need a few pints to celebrate your new broadband speeds. Later, you may need a few more pints as you ponder potential costs.

Verizon Wireless confirmed that the HTC Thunderbolt lands on St. Patrick's Day and the timing is notable. After all, you may need a few pints to celebrate your new broadband speeds. Later, you may need a few more pints if you decide to share your speed over the mobile hotspot.

And so the LTE experiment begins.

The HTC Thunderbolt has all the things to make smartphone fans drool. It packs download speeds of 5 to 12 Mbps, the latest Snapdragon chip and 4G hotspot capabilities.

Those figures are enough to put James Kendrick and Matthew Miller on the bandwagon. I already decided to punt on being a first gen Thunderbolt buyer. Sure, I want LTE and will likely upgrade in December. However, I'm a bit reticent over the following unknowns:

  • LTE battery life. The HTC Evo on Sprint isn't known for a great battery life. My HTC Incredible has a weak battery and I had to buy a Seidio aftermarket power supply that creates a bit of a frankenphone. The Seidio battery is chunky but a necessary addition.
  • The Thunderbolt is just too big for my tastes. If you assume I need a bigger battery I might as well be carrying around a laptop. The Thunderbolt is the Hummer of smartphones.
  • I'm wary about the costs. The Thunderbolt will run you $249 with a two-year contract. The 4G LTE data package and talk plans start at $39.99. An unlimited 4G LTE plan will cost you $29.99 a month. Fair enough, but the real kicker for me is the mobile hotspot runs you $20 a month per 2GB. With LTE and a mobile hotspot, you can blow through that 2GB cap quickly. I use the mobile hotspot constantly.

Verizon is offering mobile hotspot capability through May 15 for no charge. Why? You'll just pay up later if you keep it (and you will). Verizon says you can track data usage via its My Verizon app and I'd bet a lot of folks will start watching their GB a lot more closely with LTE.

Bottom line: I see no need to be an early adopter here. I want to see the costs and the real-life battery usage. I'm happy to be a fast follower here.

Related:

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, HTC, Networking, Verizon, Wi-Fi

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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