updated 10:35 am EDT, Sun August 1, 2010
Verizon LTE roadmap slips out
Some of Verizon's key 4G upgrade plans have been detailed in a leak this weekend. While two to three 4G modems will be the only devices on tap with the November launch, the carrier is expected to provide details of phones in January. Their details weren't provided to IntoMobile, but they should include Android and BlackBerry devices as HTC, Motorola and RIM are involved.
A handful of 3G phones are also believed to be coming before then, including a third-generation BlackBerry Storm, though the phone may not get the same name. A CDMA variant of the Curve 9300 and clamshell BlackBerries like the BlackBerry 9670 are also enroute. More Android phones are coming as well, but not much is known beyond the by now heavily leaked Droid 2.
The 4G deployment itself will follow an unconventional route in its early stages. The source's information is incomplete, but the initial wave at the end of 2010 will include Atlanta and Athens in Georgia, much of Massachusetts, as well as Dallas/Fort Worth and the surrounding areas in Texas. While not mentioned, key markets like New York City should also be covered at the start, reaching a total of 115 million to 125 million possible customers.
Future expansion will not necessarily focus on major cities. In 2011, much of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi should be addressed, as well as areas that haven't been serviced by Verizon before, such as West Virginia. The 4G network should feel complete for most subscribers by 2012, as all major highways and cities within 30 miles should be covered by the LTE-based network; every 3G area in existence today will have 4G by 2013.
An explanation is on hand of Verizon's known intentions to cap 4G data. Although plans are still in flux, the cap would likely sit at or near 5GB, as with existing data-only plans, but wouldn't affect the "unlimited" use of 3G. The approach is directly opposite of that for Sprint, which currently sells its WiMAX service as unlimited as an incentive to use its technology.
Verizon's 4G is expected to have an edge over Sprint's, as LTE can reach up to 12Mbps in real-world download conditions where Sprint usually estimates 6Mbps for its own network.