Coming Sunday, Dec. 5, Verizon Wireless will launch its 4G network. This fourth-generation network technology, called LTE, promises to offer near-broadband speeds. The Verizon 4G network is being rolled out without any phones that support the technology, meaning people must wait until January to get a full hands-on experience.
Verizon 4G LTE technology
The Verizon 4G network is the company’s fourth generation wireless technology. Sprint Nextel has already released its version of a 4G wireless network, called WiMax. The LTE 4G is different than WiMax 4G. Both wireless technologies are being used in large metropolitan areas and airports. Both technologies require smaller wireless transmission points placed relatively closely together. Verizon’s LTE 4G network claims download speeds of 12 megabits per second. Sprint’s 4G claims peak download speeds of “more than 10 megabits per second.”
Verizon 4G phones coming in January
Though the Verizon 4G LTE network is rolling out in limited areas, 4G networks are set to replace the current 3G networks fully by about 2013. The biggest issue for Verizon Wireless, though, is its lack of phones. The 4G network on Verizon will only be available with USB modems. Verizon Wireless has indicated that it will be offering 4G-compatible phones come the Consumer Electronics Show in January of this year. Verizon Wireless is often known for having a good network, but its selection of phones has cost the company customers in the past.
The cost of Verizon 4G network capability
Though many customers are calling out for more and more speed on their wireless networks, the speed does not come free. Unlimited data plans have been crippling 3G networks around the country, and the increased usage expected with 4G networks could easily do the same. Verizon is addressing this by pricing its 4G network access with limits. There is no unlimited plan for the Verizon 4G network. Instead, it will be priced at $50 for five gigabits per month and $80 for 10 gigabits. A five-gigabit data plan would allow for watching about 200 minutes of YouTube videos and uploading 500 photos to Facebook, plus 1,000 or so web pages.