Should you find yourself in need of an extra G, Verizon Wireless has you covered with the first mobile hotspot for its 4G LTE network.
The Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot goes on sale in Verizon stores starting March 31. It connects up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices at speeds of 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps for downloads, and 2 Mbps to 5 Mbps for uploads–at least in the 39 cities where Verizon LTE is currently available (145 markets will be supported by the end of this year). Otherwise, the hotspot falls back to 3G coverage. When in use, the hotspot lasts for roughly three and a half hours on a charge.
With a two-year data contract, and after a $50 mail-in rebate, the hotspot costs $99. Without a contract or the rebate, it’s $270. Two data plans are available: 5 GB for $50 per month, or 10 GB for $80 per month. In both cases, each additional gigabyte costs $10.
Verizon’s 4G network launched last December with PC modems only. Now, the network is expanding the service to other devices. The HTC Thunderbolt, Verizon’s first 4G phone, launched earlier this month, and the Motorola Xoom, which launched in late February, is getting a hardware upgrade for 4G network support in the second quarter of this year.
Early reviews of the network have been positive. PC Mag described the HTC Thunderbolt’s data speeds as “incredible,” and Engadget says it’s “by far the fastest data in a handset that we’ve ever experienced.”
We’ll see what happens when the LTE network becomes more widely-adopted, and when AT&T moves from HSPA+ to LTE, but for now Verizon’s hotspot looks like the one to beat–if you can stomach the cost of data and live in a city that makes the investment worthwhile.
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