Verizon confirms 4G plans: 25-30 markets in 2010, speeds 5x faster than 3G

Verizon confirms 4G plans: 25-30 markets in 2010, speeds 5x faster than 3G

Summary: The LTE trials being run by Verizon Wireless are apparently going very well. The company says it is still on schedule to make LTE available to 100 million Americans by the end 2010 and it's reporting speeds that exceed average U.S. broadband numbers.


The LTE trials being run by Verizon Wireless are apparently going pretty well. The company says it is still on schedule to make LTE available to 100 million Americans by the end 2010, and the real-world broadband speeds that engineers are seeing on the nascent 4G network are way beyond what customers get on the current 3G networks (including Verizon's).

Verizon Wireless CTO Tony Melone said, "We are on track to deliver an outstanding wireless data experience to customers in 25 to 30 markets covering roughly 100 million people by year's end. As device makers, manufacturers and others around the world begin to introduce newer and faster products to take advantage of these incredible new speeds, Verizon Wireless will be positioned to offer our customers new and exciting [services]."

Verizon has been testing LTE in Boston and Seattle since 2009. Some of the applications they're been testing on the new 4G network include:

  • Standard Web browsing
  • Video streaming
  • VoIP calls
  • File downloads and uploads

The engineers doing the testing report that they have experienced average download speeds of 5-12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2-5 Mbps (with peak speeds of up to 50 Mbps down and 25 Mbps up). You can compare that to average 3G speeds of about 1.5 Mbps and 500 Kbps.

In fact, if Verizon pulls off LTE/4G at the speeds that it's reporting, it would exceed the average U.S. broadband speed (mostly to homes), which is 3.9 Mbps down.

Of course, the 4G rival of LTE is WiMAX, which has already been rolled out to multiple U.S. markets. I was at the U.S. launch of WiMAX in Baltimore in October 2008. In my speed tests throughout Baltimore, I got an average of about 5 Mbps down and 1.5 Mbps up.

Verizon reports that it is in the process of installing LTE equipment at existing cell sites throughout the U.S. as part of this massive upgrade to its current data network. Beyond Seattle and Boston, the company has not said which other cities will be the first to get LTE.

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

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  • Time to cut all the cords?

    I already cut the phone line last year. With this service it may be tme to cut the DSL cord too.
    • But At What Price?

      WiMax prices are either twice Cable (Sprint) or the equipment is prohibitively expensive (Clear). And neither is as fast as fixed cable top tier service.

      I am ready also if the price comes down.
    • Go ahead

      That's rather shortsighted...

      -It's not like the cell companies are going to
      be trumpeting tethering once the rollout is

      -Even if you tether with a provider that looks
      the other way, routing to multiple PCs in a
      household is going to get challenging. If
      you've only got one computer, then awesome, but
      my household has five computers that share our
      DSL line, so it will only be the minority that
      can handle that.

      -You'll get speed, but your latency will be
      high. I get 300ms pings tethering Verizon on a
      good day. Even if they chop that in half or a
      third, I cringe at the thought of playing
      counterstrike on it.

      -Even if LATENCY doesn't matter to you, if your
      only internet connection is your cell phone, I
      guarantee that you'll hit the 5 gig limit
      before the month is over.

      Hey, if it works for you, then awesome. I just
      hope you don't get yourself in trouble.

      • I think this will start some good competition

        Wired providers will feel the pressure. Wireless providers will be trying to gain acceptance. This will hopefully start some price wars. In addition, there are many products out there that turn your wirelss connection into a hotspot for several wireless devices. I think the 5 gig limit is about to go away too.
        • Dream on...

          First, the 5 gig limit is here to stay, if not get worse.

          Also, the "new speed" will allow Verizon to raise the price for this coveted service. Price wars will only reverse their current trend of actually going down, only to head right back up into over-priced territory.
        • I'm afraid Verizon won't let that happen

          Verizon has some of the highest prices in the industry for their services across the board. I don't think the prospect of their being the LTE pioneers in America bodes well for consumers pricewise.
      • What about Google's Gigabit fiber?

        So when will we see Gigabit "G" speeds? 72G? Probably never. At least not without microwaving your body to get that speed.
      • LTE isn't entirely comparable to wired networks

        A wired network is dedicated 6 Mbps of capacity
        on DSL, 18 dedicated on U-verse, and typically
        12-50 shared 30-way on cable broadband. LTE
        would be 75-150 Mbps shared between hundreds,
        possibly more than 1000 users. So while the
        peak speeds of LTE will be higher per user, the
        average won't be much higher.

        Latency isn't too much of an issue on LTE.
        They've managed to get round-trip latency down
        to around 20 ms which is about double a wired
        broadband connection but still very

        So an LTE network that isn't too oversubscribed
        should compare favorably to wired broadband
        service for the first time.
  • Less than 1/3 of the country... And...

    That's only about 1/3 of the country. Less than what AT&T does 3G for (so much for Verizon commercials...)

    Not to mention that with Verizon's 4G you STILL won't be able to talk and net at the same time.

    And, most of Verizon's phones are not even real smartphones. They've got a few Android phones, but nothing like AT&T or even T-Mobile has.

    Worthless. Completely worthless. What good is this speed if it's not usable. It's a selling mechanism, otherwise worthless. And, yes you will pay for this worthless feature.
    • LTE is a GSM technology

      LTE [i]does[/i] allow simultaneous voice and data transmission. It certainly is possible using the technology. Whether or not there are any handsets or devices that will take advantage of that feature on LTE's launch is unknown. My guess is that the first LTE devices will be data cards for laptops, so voice support won't be an issue.

      I suspect that even when phones roll out, they won't be pure LTE devices. Instead they will probably have radios for both LTE and CDMA. Not only will that allow them to take advantage of the more mature / superior CDMA network, but it will also keep voice data from clogging up the valuable LTE network.
    • Clearly confused

      Clearly you're not quite sure of what you're
      talking about here. Indeed that is about 1/3rd
      of the country, but that's just the initial
      rollout. That will double by the end of 2011,
      and Verizon will have its entire national
      footprint covered by the end of 2013. Also
      you're wrong, you will be able to "talk and
      net" at the same time. In fact you can do this
      now with Verizon on any Wifi enabled phone,
      though if you really have a major need to do so
      I might suggest talking to more interesting
      people. To your point about devices, which
      phone are you referring to, aside from the
      elusive iPhone? I am very pleased with the
      Verizon lineup, and despite not having the
      iPhone, Verizon is still the largest and the
      second fastest growing wireless company, along
      with having the lowest "churn" rate. I would
      say this speed is very usable, and I fully
      expect you will see the first LTE phones by
      early 2011.
  • Wireless could become the standard

    I use 3G services, but I also use Clear's WiMax service. I like it a lot though I wish it had a larger footprint. But within the coverage area, the performance of Clear's service is comparable to low-end DSL. I can easily imagine it being used by the same people who are currently using 768 Kbps or 1.5 Mbps plans now. I actually know a few people who have replaced their Internet service or even phone line with WiMax service. Not only do they get comparable speeds for roughly the same cost at home, but the can take the service with them when they're on the go. It's not hard to imagine wireless data plans eating away at traditional DSL/cable plans at the low end, similar to how cellular phones eroded the landline business in homes.

    I am excited to see what Verizon brings to the table with LTE. My biggest concern is that if Verizon is first to market with LTE, they'll inflate the prices of the service too high. Verizon is a lot of things, but a price leader isn't one of them; they usually only lower their prices in response to what other companies do. So if Verizon says that it's $100 dollars per month for LTE service, AT&T will most likely follow Verizon's lead in 2011 rather than undercut them, even if they have room in the margins to do so.

    [b]Will there be a 5 GB cap on monthly data use?[/b]
    I hope not, and I doubt it. Otherwise WiMax and its unlimited plans start to look good.

    [b]Will it allow simultaneous voice and data?[/b]
    It's a GSM technology, so yes, it will.

    [b]What will it cost per month?[/b]
    That's the million dollar question, and one that Verizon and others haven't answered yet. Hopefully they'll price it reasonably to spur adoption. Then again, maybe they'll segment the market into 3G users on low end ($) plans and LTE users at the high end.
    • Answers

      1. There will likely be some kind of cap on
      it, because the bandwidth is shared between
      hundreds or thousands of users per cell.
      However, we don't know what that cap will be
      and it could be a bit higher than 5 GB. Also,
      the few cities you can get WiMAX in are also
      fairly restricted compared to wired broadband
      plans. You should read the fine print.

      2. Yes, LTE is the latest version of GSM
      technology. The CDMA version is called UMB,
      and it was cancelled and the cellular world
      decided to universally adopt GSM going forward
      to defeat the threat of WiMAX. WiMAX is aging
      technology and it doesn't even support MIMO
      which cuts its performance in nearly 1/2 or 1/4
      compared to LTE.

      3. We don't know. If I had to guess, I'd say
      eventually $60/month.
  • RE: Verizon confirms 4G plans: 25-30 markets in 2010, speeds 5x faster than 3G

    #2 is not accurate. WiMax continues to evolve just like LTE. WiMAX16 will be comparable if not better than LTE. In fact the only real advantage that LTE has over WiMAX is high-speed handoffs.
  • RE: Verizon confirms 4G plans: 25-30 markets in 2010, speeds 5x faster than 3G

    tontiy,good post!
  • RE: Verizon confirms 4G plans: 25-30 markets in 2010, speeds 5x faster than 3G

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