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Verizon to blanket US with 4G LTE this year

AT&T: 'Big effing deal'

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Verizon has announced that it will roll out 4G LTE coverage for 110 million Americans later this year. And AT&T is not impressed.

"With our initial 4G LTE launch, we will immediately reach more than one-third of all Americans where they live, right from the start," said Verizon president and CEO Lowell McAdam in a prepared statement, adding: "And, we will quickly introduce 4G LTE throughout the Verizon coverage area."

Verizon Wireless 4G LTE 2010 Launch Markets

Verizon's 4G LTE launch map but don't get too excited: red is 3G coverage
Click to enlarge, or click here for a full-sized map

Coverage will be offered in 38 US cities, including New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Silicon Valley's San José.

In addition, 62 US airports will receive the service, "giving road warriors added coverage when they travel," said McAdam. The airports served will be all the usual suspects, including Bob Hope, Louis Armstrong, John Wayne, George Bush, and Ronald Reagan.

AT&T, however, pooh-poohed the news of Verizon's speedy LTE deployment, telling PC Magazine that Verizon was forced to make its announcement and hurry its launch because Big Red's service will be slower than Big Phone's.

"We don't have the technical limitations of the CDMA network, so our path to LTE isn't 'delayed,'" an AT&T spokesman told PC Mag.

Still, being first is A Good Thing™ — early adopters are powerful word-of-mouth salesfolks.

During the Verizon CEO's keynote presentation at the CTIA trade show in San Francisco, he enthused about the promise of LTE: "I can tell you that there's a lot more to LTE than the convention wisdom would lead you to believe," McAdam said.

"There's a tendency to think that LTE is just about speed," he said, "but that misses half of the equation. Speed goes up dramatically — by a factor of 10 over our 3G networks — but equally important is that latency drops by more than half."

McAdam noted that gamers are "probably salivating" about improvements in wireless latency, but added that more-serious applications will benefit, as well. As example, he cited mobile commerce, remote medical consultation, emergency services, crime-scene dispatch, and — in a bit of a darker realm — remote survelliance.

McAdam, however, gave neither the exact date that Verizon will flip the switch nor any information on plans or pricing. And although he promised that Big Red will unveil 4G devices from major OEMs at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas — tablets, smartphones, and more — he brought no hardware to wave at his keynote crowd.

More information on Verizon's 4G plans can be found at the company's LTE Information Center, and a full list of the metropolitan areas and airports where LTE will be launched this year is available here (scroll down). ®

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