Verizon Ready for ‘Dramatic Leap’ To LTE Speeds

The nation’s largest wireless carrier will launch its much-vaunted Long Term Evolution network on Sunday, promising data speeds 10 times faster than its current 3G network.

“This is dramatically different,” Verizon Wireless Senior Vice President and CTO Tony Melone told reporters in a conference call Wednesday. He promised that LTE will enable downloads of five to 12 megabits per second and uplinks of two to five Mbps, fast enough to upload 20 photos in one minute. “Imagine if you were going to take a flight from New York to Tokyo that takes 13 hours today and technology let you get there in 80 minutes. That’s the kind of dramatic leap we’re talking about with 4G.”

‘Dramatic Leap’

Although the company calls its new technology 4G, the International Telecommunications Union defines 4G as capable of delivering 100 Mbit of data per second, faster than any system currently claiming to be 4G. When a reporter pointed this out, Melone said “what you call it is not that relevant. It’s a quantum generational step up. Even if you want to call it something other than 4G, it’s a real step up.”

The network will roll out in 38 major markets for modem-equipped data devices and gradually spread to cover Verizon’s current 3G footprint by the end of 2013, Melone said. Verizon stores will begin selling LTE-compatible VL600 USB modems made by LG on Sunday for $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate. A second modem by Pantech will follow later.

The modem will give 3G users speeds of 600 kilobits to 1.4 megabits per second for downloads and 500-800 kpbs for uploads. Smartphones equipped to work on both the current 3G network as well as in areas where LTE is available will debut at February’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

No Unlimited Data

The company announced two LTE data plans,…

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