updated 05:35 pm EDT, Wed March 24, 2010
Verizon finishes LTE tests, sees phones later
Verizon at its CTIA presentation today provided many more details of its LTE-based 4G network. The carrier's CTO Tony Melone said that Verizon has finished its trials in Boston and Seattle and expects that the 25 to 30 cities launching in the "not too distant future" would be enough to cover a third of the US by the end of the year. Coverage should double in about 15 months and should finally match or exceed 3G by late 2013.
More detailed "friendly user" tests are still due before LTE gains commercial service, but where these would take place wasn't part of discussions. These in-between tests would involve actual end-user devices such as modems and routers, which will also be part of the early launch.
Cellphones won't arrive until the first half of 2011, Melone said, but would likely be closer to the winter than spring as smartphones are only about a quarter behind schedule. No names were given out, but the Samsung r900 is an early candidate.
The service is poised to bring a major increase in speed to Verizon's network and to gradually put its service on the same technology as AT&T, which plans to use a compatible LTE network in 2011. EVDO-based 3G often peaks at 2-3Mbps in real-world conditions, but Verizon has already tested its 4G running at 5-12Mbps with peaks of 40-50 Mbps.