The competition for the so-called 4G market got a little hotter as Verizon launched a service aimed at business users.
The LTE network now covers 38 cities and can be accessed by around a third of the US population at present, with more network coverage expansion promised. The new network will give much faster download speeds, especially for services like video.
"Laptop users will experience speeds up to 10 times faster than when they surf on the company's 3G network," said the company in a statement.
"In real-world, loaded network environments, data rates are
expected to be 5 to 12 megabits per second (Mbps) on the downlink and 2 to 5
Mbps on the uplink."
New LTE handsets would be out next year it said, but the company is initially concentrating on USB modems aimed at the business market. The first model, the Pantech UML290 4G modem, is available now priced at $99.99 (after a $50 mail-in rebate) plus $50 for 5GB per month and $80 for 10GB, with $10 for each GB used over that.
"The $50 per month baseline LTE data pricing plan is undercutting Verizon's current 3G data access prices. Why undercut 3G data prices? Because the 4G/LTE competitive landscape is heating up," said Michele Pelino, principal analyst at Forrester.
She pointed out that Verizon is facing increasing competition in the so-called 4G space. ClearWire has already deployed WiMax networks and handsets and will be competing for LTE traffic too, while T-Mobile is launching an HSPA+ network and AT&T is moving into the area in 2011.
AT&T is keen to move to the new technology to placate customers, particularly iPhone users. In a survey of 58,000 readers by Consumer Reports, AT&T was named the worst mobile phone network operator in every category, with the exception of text messaging.
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