Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

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.

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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.

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

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39 comments
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  • It is still lab rat testing conditions with almost no coverage in USA

    -- while Wi-Fi is <b>faster and free of charge</b> and is available in the same cities.<br><br>Also, Thunderbold has three degrees poorer screen than iPhone 4. The latter has like 50% more detailed/clearer image, has IPS technology screen and all of screen layers are glued together to fight parasitic refraction.<br><br>Also, Thunderbolt has poor battery life.
    DDERSSS
    • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

      @denisrs
      What on earth are you talking about? Not very many cities offer "Free wifi!" as you say.

      Also, it's better than the iPhone 4 in every single way. So don't start with that garbage.
      Droid101
      • HTC screen and battery life are poor compared to iPhone 4 -- it not ...

        @Droid101: ... possible to deny that.
        DDERSSS
      • Don't bother denisrs...

        @denisrs

        Trying to talk sense to rabid roid boi is like trying to talk sense to a pile of dung. He knows the Roid is just another iPhone wannabe and will never compete on user experience. So all he has to hang onto are hollow specs that mean nothing in the real world.

        Paranoid moronic irrational delusions of being locked into "Apple's ecosystem" is all the pea brains have to cling too. It's kinda funny considering you can sync an iPhone or iPad to a Windows PC as well as load anything you want into iTunes. But here is the real rub... If that were true, then who wouldn't want to be locked into the best user experience? And considering all the Roid malware in the wild (just google "Android Malware" and select news and you can see that Roid has had malware from day one). Bottom line, Roid is a joke, and the joke is on anyone who wasted their money on one of those wannabe devices.
        i8thecat
      • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

        @Droid101 - -
        I wonder if anybody reads messages that have such a high concentration of bother.
        rabid
        dung
        wannabe
        Paranoid
        moronic
        irrational
        delusions
        pea brains
        SlimSam
    • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

      @denisrs

      Everyone should just BOYCOTT VERIZON FOR LIES, PRICE INCREASES, and IT'S ALL ABOUT PROFIT TREATMENT OF CONSUMERS.

      1. Verizon PROMISED and stated by their CEO that smart phones would not go over $199.00 on a 2 year upgrade. New phones now up to $299.00. A VERIZON LIE!!!

      2. Verizon told new customers when they signed up that they would get the new every 2 plan as long as they were customers. NOW VERIZON TAKES THAT AWAY, AND IN THEIR OWN WORDS, TO INCREASE PROFITS. Another Verizon Lie.

      3. Verizon only offers customers one unlimited data plan, even to those that use very little data. THIS MEANS VERIZON CUSTOMERS THAT USE LITTLE DATA *** PAY *** FOR HEAVY USERS. Verizon did this in an effort to draw AT&T customers to Verizon. BUT THEY ARE WILLING TO SCREW EXISTING VERIZON CUSTOMERS TO DO THIS.

      4. Verizon has LIED TO ITS CUSTOMERS ON A REGULAR BASIS. Promises made and broken. CUSTOMERS SERVICE LEVELS HAVE STEADILY DROPPED OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS FOR THE SAKE OF INCREASING PROFITS. I have been a customer over 10 Years and watched more and more of their Customer Service taken away to increase PROFITS.

      Bottom line, I have both Verizon and AT&T service and VERIZON HAS GONE FROM THE SERVICE PROVIDER YOU WANT TO THE CELL PHONE PROVIDER YOU SHOULD RUN FROM.

      AT&T now beats Verizon on all levels of customer service and pricing.

      SEND A MESSAGE TO VERIZON AND WHEN YOUR NEXT CONTRACT IS UP, SWITCH TO ANOTHER PROVIDER.
      Lindsay LilHo
  • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

    I would love to upgrade to HTC Thunderbolt and be a lab rat, since it is neither available on AT&T nor Sprint, I am not. I am happy with HTC EVO 4G. I am not seeing any other reason other than LTE stamp to move out from EVO 4G to Thunderbolt.
    Ram U
    • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

      @Rama.NET <br>Note the form factor, note the specs, Thunderbolt (correct me if I'm wrong) is an EVO in a metal looking case. And at the price point Sprint is all around cheaper and less of a hassle than V. I don't have to watch my data, call,text etc any time and got a corporate discount to boot since my business gets a percentage off every freaking monthly bill. And a lot less dropped calls than my old T-mobile. Oh and got 4G too. Can't complain. the one thing I would like is the new ver. of Sense (v. 3.x?)
      Don't know if the TBolt has that.
      Rik Shannon
  • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

    I'm happy with my connection for my WP7 phone and to be truthful, I really use WiFi at work, home and in a number of outside areas.

    Of course if I had money to burn then LTE would look good, as it is most people try to avoid using their phone connection for anything resembling data ;-)
    tonymcs@...
  • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

    It has to start somewhere. LTE/4G is the future, it will grow in time.

    I am really hoping that the iPhone 5 will be a 4G phone, in time for my bi-annual telco contract renewal and hardware upgrade.

    The Thunderbolt looks nice enough, but its size presents to me less functionally as a phone that fits in my pocket, and more so as a tablet to be carried by hand or in a case.
    Tech watcher
  • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

    How can a mobile hotspot cost $20 every 2GB whereas the data plan is unlimited? One is superceeding the other. I am assuming that the mobile hotspot is actually the phone tethered to some type of wifi router, so if this is the case you are using the phone's data plan, i.e. the plan you are pying $30 a month to be unlimited. Way to go Verizon for alienating anyone who wants to use mobile hotspot. I take it phone tethering is still considered to be unlimited?
    KBot
    • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

      @KBot
      Just root, you can Hotspot for free. Don't fall for Verizon's crap.
      Droid101
      • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

        @Droid101

        so i take it the mobile hotspot functionality is built into the phone and to access it normally one would have to go through a verizon app? Well then I suppose rooting and using the base android features is really the only way to go, just like google releasing gps functionality with google maps and making verizon's VZ navigator software useless.
        KBot
    • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

      @KBot
      that $20 is extra on top of the $29 data package making it a total of $50. tethering and wifi hotspot are basicaly the same thing, one uses a usb cord the other uses the wifi part of the phone. good thing the tether package is optional because that is a ripoff. but verizon has always charged $20 extra for tethering but it came with 5Gb rather than 2Gb. if the thunderbolt is like the rest of their HTC phones it is quite easy change settings to tether unlimited with the built in hotspot feature. ##778 send.... 000000 if it has the same hidden menu as the rest of their HTC phones, the secret lies in there.
      andyrules
      • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

        @andyrules said "but verizon has always charged $20 extra for tethering but it came with 5Gb rather than 2Gb."

        Not True. Tethering is free and uses the unlimited data plan with the phone. Using the phone as a wifi hotspot is what costs the additional money. These are two different things. I know this because I can tether my phone for 3g internet on my laptop, I have not rooted it, and I do not pay verizon an extra $20 per month for the privilege.
        thewbert
      • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

        @thewbert<br><br>what program are you using to tether? if you use VZ Access to tether then it will send you to a page saying that you have to pay extra. I know I have done it, they never let you tether for free. If you use any third party apps such as PDAnet then it uses your unlimited data plan because it bypasses their dialup username and password. but out of the box using Verizon's software you cannot tether for free. if you don't believe me call them up and ask.
        andyrules
      • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

        edit
        andyrules
    • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

      edit
      andyrules
  • Waiting for the Bionic

    I have really enjoyed the durability of the original Droid and am looking forward to the dual core goodness and HDMI output of later offerings. Now, if only Motorolla will release it after teasing us with it months ago.....
    steveschiffer@...
    • RE: Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt kicks off the grand LTE experiment

      @steveschiffer I also am interested in the Bionic, but only if Motorola offers the bootloader unlocked. Yes I am a custom ROM nerd! I want better firmware than Moto+Verizon is willing to offer. I also want root access. Hopefully the locked bootloader is just a rumor. Otherwise, I might have to just wait it out with my OG D1 running SS_5.1.2 oc 1.2Ghz(which is still blowing iPhone 4 out of the water)
      jaccolli