Hands on: Verizon 4G (LTE)

On December 5th, Verizon will be launching its 4G network nationwide and Neowin got a sneak peek of the new LTE technology. Verizon is touting that it has the world’s largest LTE network and is deployed in 38 major metropolitan areas, covering more than 110 million Americans, before the end of the year. The 4G blanket is hitting a large swath of the United States as Verizon tries to position itself as the premier 4G provider when compared to AT&T and Sprint. 

Currently Verizon is only selling two USB modems that will be able to harness the 4G network, the Pantech UML 290 and the LG VL 600, but did say that 4G enabled phones will be landing in Q1. For those not familiar with 4G (know that 4G is a branding term as according to the ITU-R,  the data rates don't meet their requirements for true 4G), it is the latest generation of mobile broadband to be offered by wireless carriers.  As it stands right now only Sprint is competing with Verizon on the 4G network front, as AT&T has not launched its iteration of LTE.

4G (or LTE) offers faster download and upload speeds for the end user. In essence, it provides speeds that rival that of low end home broadband offerings, and its speeds are fast enough for the vast majority of users for their daily needs. Verizon has deployed its network on its recently acquired 700Mhz frequency which should give its network greater building penetration than its current 3G network. Verizon proudly states that it will be the only carrier to offer a 4G network nationwide on the 700Mhz platform. 

What everyone wants to know is how fast it the LTE network? As the picture above shows, in real time, speedtest.net was able to measure 8.35Mbps down and 4.05MBs upload. This was the average of three runs with ranges from 7-10Mbps down and 3-5 Mbps upload; average ping time during the tests came in from 48-112ms. These speeds are rather impressive when you think about that this type of access can be obtained anywhere a 4G signal is present, easily fast enough to browse YouTube or Hulu with minimal buffering. Verizon claims that the speeds should average 5 to 12 megabits per second (Mbps) on the downlink and 2 to 5 Mbps on the uplink in a real-world loaded network environment. The real test will come in a year from now when there are millions of LTE devices running on the network as the quoted speeds were obtained from simulated network loaded environments.

  

Verizon Wireless will be offering two 4G LTE Mobile Broadband data plans: $50 monthly access for 5 GB monthly allowance or $80 monthly access for 10 GB monthly allowance, both with $10/GB overage. While not the cheapest data connectivity packages available on the free market, this is the latest and greatest so expect there to be a premium for its pricing. No pricing has been announced for the cost of 4G on a handset, currently Sprint charges users a premium of $10 a month to use its 4G network. 

So what is there to say about LTE? Its fast, relatively widely available, and its finally here. While we do have to wait for Verizon to bring 4G phones to market, the good news is that it wont be long. 4G represents a new era, an era where broadband speeds are truly accessible nearly everywhere and on December 5th, Verizon will make it available to millions of Americans.    

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35 Comments

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And that 4G premium for Sprint is unlimited usage. I think I'll stick with Sprint. Even better, I'll go to Clear, which uses Sprint's 4G WiMAX network, and just use its Wi-Fi products.

Honestly, i expected more for standard marketed as 4G.. lots more. I can get 5-6mb/s easily with my current cellphone in 3G HSPA-network here in Finland.

inkogn said,
Honestly, i expected more for standard marketed as 4G.. lots more. I can get 5-6mb/s easily with my current cellphone in 3G HSPA-network here in Finland.

these speeds are the company's first go - give it a few years and we should all be hoping for more speed, right? WiMax has a theoretical limit of 100Mb/s, so Sprint is claiming only 10% of that right now.

Verizon said in their teleconference about this on wednesday that they would be having another conference about the network on mobile devices in january.

bankajac said,
How does this compare to Sprint 4G?

Not any better or worse really. I did QA for the WiMax USB modems and it does just as good. The service is really dependent of the antennas in your area. My opinion is the software is beyond terrible, but the speed is nice.

webeagle12 said,
LTE = Reach your caps even faster!!!!

The thing I like about this pricing is the $10 per GB for overage is surprisingly reasonable. Often companies want to hit you with big overage fees. At least here you basically pay $10 per gig and that's that.

That said - I'll be interested to see what verizon does with the pricing on handsets. If they charge an extra $10 for 4G like sprint does, I'll probably pass. I can't see the speed difference being worth paying extra - for an air card, sure, but for a smartphone, nah, data plans are already way overpriced for what they are.

bdsams said,
Thanks for reading the article, I clearly stated that.

No, you clearly did not state what I said. You put 4G everywhere and left a sentence that didn't even explain the issue. I could let it go if you put "4G" in quotes, but you kept calling it 4G throughout the whole article.

By your logic, I could call 480p video "HD" because some company decided to market it under that. Just like those LCD screens that have a 2 ms "response time" from grey to black.

This type of stuff should be banned, and it probably is in Europe.

zivan56 said,
LTE isn't 4G...LTE Advanced is 4G. This is 3.75G

"(know that 4G is a branding term as according to the ITU-R, the data rates don't meet their requirements for true 4G), "

I thought that sentence was more than clear.

zivan56 said,

No, you clearly did not state what I said. You put 4G everywhere and left a sentence that didn't even explain the issue. I could let it go if you put "4G" in quotes, but you kept calling it 4G throughout the whole article.

By your logic, I could call 480p video "HD" because some company decided to market it under that. Just like those LCD screens that have a 2 ms "response time" from grey to black.

This type of stuff should be banned, and it probably is in Europe.

That would make the article *so* awkward to read.

zivan56 said,

No, you clearly did not state what I said. You put 4G everywhere and left a sentence that didn't even explain the issue. I could let it go if you put "4G" in quotes, but you kept calling it 4G throughout the whole article.

By your logic, I could call 480p video "HD" because some company decided to market it under that. Just like those LCD screens that have a 2 ms "response time" from grey to black.

This type of stuff should be banned, and it probably is in Europe.


That time of month again?

Brandon B. said,
it's fast now because you're one of the only people using it. How will it be after everybody gets on?
Agreed. But I would hope Verizon would continue to add to their infrastructure.

My city only offers TWC and AT&T so we get stuck with outrageous prices and ****ty ass speeds... TWC only offers 10mb down and 512k up AT&T offers 3mb down and 384k up (some areas up to 6mb) TWC=$60/month and AT&T=$43/month (3mb)

ha, that's faster than my cable connection which tops at about 7 down and 384 (or 512 I forget) up. And thats not a low end connection here. Its the fastest one can get (to my knowledge anyway).

SharpGreen said,
ha, that's faster than my cable connection which tops at about 7 down and 384 (or 512 I forget) up. And thats not a low end connection here. Its the fastest one can get (to my knowledge anyway).

512kbps? and 7Mpbs?

SharpGreen said,
ha, that's faster than my cable connection which tops at about 7 down and 384 (or 512 I forget) up. And thats not a low end connection here. Its the fastest one can get (to my knowledge anyway).

That's pretty slow. I get 50mbps/35mbps for $40 a month.

david said,

That's pretty slow. I get 50mbps/35mbps for $40 a month.

Where do you live?

Pataskala OH, Roadrunner Turbo (is all that's available) $55 a month 24mbps down 256kbps up... and more torrent throttling than a pirate could dream of (nightmare that is...)

I get the same from Verizon, Comcast wants an extra $20 per month for those speeds

david said,

That's pretty slow. I get 50mbps/35mbps for $40 a month.

ZenVenT said,

Where do you live?

Pataskala OH, Roadrunner Turbo (is all that's available) $55 a month 24mbps down 256kbps up... and more torrent throttling than a pirate could dream of (nightmare that is...)

Oshkosh, WI - Roadrunner Turbo (which here is 15Mbps (21Mbps burst) downstream and 1Mbps upload.

ZenVenT said,

Where do you live?

Pataskala OH, Roadrunner Turbo (is all that's available) $55 a month 24mbps down 256kbps up... and more torrent throttling than a pirate could dream of (nightmare that is...)


Howdy neighbor!

Blacklick, OH - Insight Roadrunner 15Mbps down/256kbps up.

Temperingpick said,

512kbps? and 7Mpbs?

Yea. Sorry if I wasn't clear enough.

And its fast enough to satisfy me. I always say anything is better than Dial-up.

25MBPS down, 1MBPS up, 125GB/month limit. $70 a month.

And I'm in the middle of a reasonably large city in Canada - St. John's, NL. Stupid Rogers.

Simon said,
25MBPS down, 1MBPS up, 125GB/month limit. $70 a month.

And I'm in the middle of a reasonably large city in Canada - St. John's, NL. Stupid Rogers.

Yeah Rogers sucks.