Verizon will be flipping the switch on its 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) high-speed data service next week. The company promises mobile browsing speeds up to 10 times faster than its current 3G service.
The company won’t be launching 4G-capable mobile phones until early next year, but customers will be able to buy one of two 4G USB modems for use with a standard computer. The LG VL600 will go on sale this Sunday, December 5, with the Pantech UML290 to follow shortly thereafter. Both are priced at $100 with a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate.
Verizon’s 4G service will be available in 38 major markets across the U.S. at launch (check to see if you’re covered here), along with connections in 60 airports around the country.
Service fees are set at $50 for 5GB or $80 for 10GB of data use.
Verizon faces competition from Sprint, which was first out of the gate with 4G coverage, and T-Mobile, which is promising 4G speeds on most of its network. AT&T is expected to turn on its high-speed data connections in the very near future, too. Verizon’s monthly 4G pricing is also really high at the moment, especially given that it doesn’t provide for unlimited bandwidth usage and requires a two-year contract.
The main advantage of 4G connections over existing 3G connections is that the maximum speeds theoretically attainable on 4G networks approach speeds similar to lower-tier home broadband connections.
So aside from 4G-enabled phones and USB modems for use while on the go, we’ll begin to see more and more 4G products targeted at the home as well.
Instead of waiting for a Comcast installer to hook up broadband service in your house, for instance, Verizon can send you a little box that pulls down 4G data and converts it into a Wi-Fi signal that your home computers can use. Furthermore, you could take this box on vacation with you so you’d have high-speed internet access wherever you can grab a Verizon signal.
Monthly pricing for 4G service, across the board, is still a bit too high to truly compete with home broadband service, but expect prices to drop to more competitive levels over the next year or so.
The cable internet companies such as Comcast and Time Warner will likely compete by offering higher and higher speeds without drastically raising current monthly prices, but once 4G connections become stable enough and fast enough to offer customers decent speeds at decent prices, we may begin to see a meaningful shift to 4G data in the home.
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