We knew 4G was coming but when? Next year, Verizon Wireless announced today at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain.
The fourth-generation of faster Internet service for cell phones will turn smartphones into powerful Internet machines, with speeds that rival broadband for the home computer. Early tests of Verizon’s technology are hitting 50 to 60 Mbps (!!) Internet speeds.
Think of it as Wi-Fi everywhere.
That’s faster than pretty much any Internet service consumers can order for home today. Verizon does add that the actual speeds in the U.S. have not been determined.
But where will the service launch in the U.S.? No details have been released. PC World is reporting that Verizon’s 4G service will launch in 2 cities this year and 25 to 30 next year. I checked with the local Verizon spokesman and doesn’t know yet whether O.C. will be a lucky 2010 recipient.
“We don’t have those details at this point (at least I don’t) but I know we want to roll it out on an aggressive schedule,” said Ken Muche, with Verizon Wireless.
Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks will help Verizon launch its 4G service, a technology called Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks. This is the 4G service of choice for AT&T and Cox Communications. A competing 4G standard is WiMax, backed by Sprint. Sprint launched its service in Baltimore in September with Internet data speeds of 2 to 4 Mbps.
The promise of LTE? Better signal indoors, better quality video, coverage in rural areas, coverage worldwide and ability to connect o consumer electronics, says Verizon.
Verizon’s 4G service has already started appearing in some parts of the United States. Verizon has been testing LTE in Minneapolis, Northern New Jersey and Columbus, Ohio. (In Europe, LTE is being tested in Budapest, Düsseldorf, and Madrid in Europe.)
And remember the ongoing digital TV transition that has TV stations giving up analog signals in favor of digital? Some of those analog airwaves, which use the 700 MHz spectrum, will be used by Verizon to deploy its 4G service. Verizon will expand its trials this summer after all TV stations switch to digital on June 12.
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