Verizon 4G Smartphone May Arrive by Mid-2011
Verizon's first 4G smartphone may arrive a good six months ahead of schedule, arriving by mid-2011. While Verizon plans to launch its 4G network later this year, rival Sprint's first 4G smartphone is expected to debut this summer.
Verizon Wireless could have its first 4G smartphone by mid-2011, approximately six months ahead of schedule, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Verizon, after successfully completing testing in Boston and Seattle, has said it plans to launch its 4G network, based on LTE (Long-Term Evolution), in 20 to 30 U.S. markets by the end of this year. And Anthony Melone, Verizon's CTO, said the carrier's first 4G smartphone could follow within three to six months of its LTE launch, the Journal reported March 11.
"As device makers, manufacturers and others around the world begin to introduce newer and faster products to take advantage of these incredible new speeds, Verizon Wireless will be positioned to offer our customers new and exciting products on the nation's first 4G LTE network," Melone said earlier, in a March 8 statement.
Offering more detail, he told the Journal, "Very likely, we initially won't have a single, integrated chip," explaining that Verizon's first 4G smartphones will likely depend on dual-chipsets, able to switch to 3G service where 4G isn't available.
Competitor Sprint, which, with partner Clearwire, currently offers 4G technology in the form of WiMax in 27 U.S. markets, expects to bring its first 4G smartphone to market in the first half of 2010.
Sprint executives have confirmed discussing a 4G smartphone with Samsung, while other media sources have suggested a model from HTC is more likely. Either way, 3G/4G compatibility, as Sprint has included in products such as its 3G/4G Mobile HotSpot and U301 dongle, seems again a good bet.
Additionally, with 4G's new high speeds - during LTE trials, Verizon has reported experiencing speeds "significantly faster" than its 3G network - 4G handset customers should expect a rollout of tiered data pricing plans and an expiration of all-you-can-eat models.
At the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference March 2, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson explained that, when it comes to data, the heaviest users will have to pay their share.
"For the industry, we'll progressively move toward more of what I call variable pricing so the heavy consumers will pay more than the lower consumers," Stephenson said.
How to keep consumers interested, exploring and surfing, without a fear of lurking data limits - or pricing penalties - seems to be a problem Sprint may be forced to tackle and solve before AT&T's rumored smartphone makes it mid-2011 debut.