Verizon narrows 4G launch window down to fall 2010
Verizon chief technical officer Dick Lynch in an update has put the launch of the company's 4G network in the fall. Once pegged only for the second half of the year, the Long Term Evolution (LTE) access will reach its promised 25 to 30 cities within the last three months of the year. Lynch didn't explain the delay but did reiterate that "friendly" customers will be using the service early, in summer.
The timing gives Verizon a shorter window to roll out 4G before AT&T does the same in 2011 but is relatively inessential for its mobile strategy. All of its earliest 4G devices will be modems and routers, as chipsets small and power-efficient enough to work in smartphones aren't due to be fully ready until early 2011 at the earliest.
Sprint already has a 4G-level service in WiMAX and will be the first with a 4G smartphone in the US when the Evo 4G ships this summer, but its service will be noticeably slower in practice. Sprint estimates 3-6Mbps downstream in typical conditions where Verizon has already tested 5-12Mbps on its fledgling LTE service.