On Wednesday, Verizon made its LTE launch plans official. The 4G network will go live later this year, and should be available in many of the country's largest metropolitan areas.
The company has long said that it will launch between 25 and 30 markets this year, but the official number is 38. In addition to the cities, a full 60 commercial airports will also have LTE coverage.
As for speeds, Verizon said that users can expect to see download speeds between 5 and 12Mbps and upload speeds between 2 and 5Mbps. These are "real-world" speeds, meaning they aren't theoretical numbers, they are what users will actually get. The network will be operated on the 700MHz spectrum band, which Verizon Wireless won from the FCC in an auction held several years ago.
"We are driven by the vision to provide ubiquitous wireless broadband connectivity and mobility to rural and urban Americans alike," said Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam in a prepared statement. "With our initial 4G LTE launch, we will immediately reach more than one-third of all Americans where they live, right from the start. And, we will quickly introduce 4G LTE throughout the Verizon coverage area."
McAdam continued, "Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE network will also be available in the commercial airports in the 38 metropolitan areas, plus we’re launching airports in other key cities coast to coast, giving road warriors added coverage when they travel. Every time we’ve built a next generation network, our customers have seen real benefits to their bottom lines. Taking advantage of the first large-scale LTE network on the globe gives our customers a competitive advantage."
Verizon didn't announce any LTE-enabled products, nor pricing for the service, nor even the exact launch dates for the named markets. It did, however, say that it will announce a slew of LTE smartphones and tablets at the CES trade show in January 2011.
AT&T will launch its own LTE network in mid-2011, and plans to cover between 70 and 75 million POPs.
The full list of cities includes:
Akron, Ohio Athens, Georgia Atlanta, Georgia Baltimore, Maryland Boston, Massachusetts Charlotte, North Carolina Chicago, Illinois Cincinnati, Ohio Cleveland, Ohio Columbus, Ohio Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Dallas, Texas Denver, Colorado Fort Lauderdale, Florida Houston, Texas Jacksonville, Florida Las Vegas, Nevada Los Angeles, California Miami, Florida Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota Nashville, Tennessee New Orleans, Louisiana New York, New York Oakland, California Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Orlando, Florida Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Phoenix, Arizona Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Rochester, New York San Antonio, Texas San Diego, California San Francisco, California San Jose, California Seattle/Tacoma, Washington St. Louis, Missouri Tampa, Florida Washington, D.C. West Lafayette, Indiana West Palm Beach, Florida