updated 09:40 am EST, Wed February 18, 2009
Verizon LTE Plans
Verizon on Wednesday confirmed that it has already been trialing 4G service using the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard in the US and that the technology is proving fast in practice. Having begun tests in Columbus, Minneapolis and the northern New Jersey area, the carrier is already reporting in-the-field peak download speeds between 50Mbps and 60Mbps, or more than 20 times faster than better connections using 3G-level EVDO Revision A service. Upload speeds aren't mentioned but should also be much faster.
Verizon cautions that speeds are likely to variable with actual paid service, when more users are likely to be on the network and service won't always be in ideal conditions.
The company also reiterates that it's still on track for deploying LTE and notes that it plans to expand trials in the summer. Commercial service should start in 2010 and will reportedly extend even to areas where Verizon doesn't normally provide data service. Much of this is being helped by Verizon's recently acquired 700MHz wireless spectrum, whose low frequencies both give it extra range and help it reach indoors.
Adopting LTE is essential to Verizon's service. The company will need the faster network to compete against AT&T's 20Mbps 3G service going live later this year and sees the 4G service's faster-than-landline speed being useful well beyond cellphones, supporting notebooks and other portable electronics. The technology swap also eventually lets customers from AT&T and T-Mobile switch to Verizon without having to abandon their phones as they do today.
AT&T isn't expected to have LTE of its own until 2011.