Analog television hasn’t even been fully switched off in order to make room for new wireless services, and already Verizon Wireless has announced it plans to roll out mobile broadband services based on LTE technology in the United States beginning this year. The so-called 4G services will first launch as mobile connectivity for notebook computer users in two U.S. cities during 2009, and Verizon expects to expand that footprint to 25 to 30 U.S. cities during 2010. Verizon WIreless expects smartphones and other mobile devices using LTE technology will begin to reach U.S. consumers by 2011.
Verizon Wireless’s LTE network will be built using gear from Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson. Verizon has been conducting LTE trials with Vodafone in both Europe and the United States with transfer speeds reach as high as 60 Mbps, although Verizon Wireless isn’t yet making any promised about the bandwidth that may be available on a full deployed network.
Verizon hasn’t revealed where it will light up its first LTE service; Verizon’s LTE trials took places in Columbus, Minneapolis, and northern New Jersey; the company is also opening an LTE R&D center in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Verizon Wireless’s LTE service will compete directly with WiMax services already being deployed by Clearwire and Sprint. Clearwire already has services up and running in Baltimore and Portland, Oregon, with more sites expected to come online soon. However, Clearwire’s network is already substantially behind initial projections for availability as Sprint struggled to secure financing for a nationwide network.
LTE proponents eventually see LTE technology becoming sufficiently ubiquitous that consumers would have several different devices such as computers, media players, cameras, and phones, each with integrated LTE capability.