More than 60 U.S. airports will get faster wireless data networks installed by Verizon Wireless by the end of the year, the carrier says.
The company has been working on deploying its latest network, dubbed 4G Long Term Evolution, to 38 metropolitan areas. For airports, Verizon Wireless will install additional equipment to enhance wireless coverage indoors, spokesman Jeffrey Nelson says. "Airport buildings are built differently, with lots of underground space. Many require in-building systems."
Most of the airports overlap with Verizon Wireless' selected cities. But some, such as Honolulu International and Salt Lake City International, will get their own coverage.
The new network will transmit data faster than Verizon Wireless' current 3G network, Nelson says. "Anything you can do on a wired (connection) today can be wirelessly operated with (4G)."
Verizon Wireless is focusing on enhancing airport coverage to attract business travelers, a high-paying base of customers who are also more demanding in their technology expectations. It has yet to release pricing for the faster network, but wireless carriers have been increasingly moving to "tiered pricing," in which heavy data users pay more if they exceed a capped usage amount.
Given the likelihood of more expensive pricing, many travelers will continue to opt for Wi-Fi service at airports, especially if they're free or if they already pay for a fixed monthly Wi-Fi subscription plan, says Christian Gunning of Wi-Fi provider Boingo Wireless. Boingo charges subscribers $7.95 a month for Wi-Fi connections at 685 airports worldwide, and also offers daily and hourly passes.
By Roger Yu, USA TODAY