Verizon Wireless is hard at work building out its 4G capabilities. After beginning to take orders March 29 for the Samsung 4G Long-Term Evolution Mobile Hotspot, the wireless company announced it will also accept orders for a new Novatel Wireless USB-based 4G LTE wireless modem, starting March 31.
The Samsung Hotspot, which can act as a WiFi hotspot for five devices, measures 2.32 by 3.54 by 0.45 inches, weighs 2.7 ounces and offers 216 minutes of use per charge. It's compatible with enterprise VPNs and 4G SIM cards. With a two-year contract, and after an online $50 discount, Verizon has priced it at $100. (Without the discount or contract, expect to pay $270.)
Similarly, the Novatel Wireless USB will sell for $100 after a $50 mail-in rebate and with a new two-year agreement on a 4G Mobile Broadband plan-which begins at $50 a month for 5GB. It supports Windows XP 32-bit, Vista 32/64-bit and Windows 7 32/64-bit operating systems, as well as Mac OS X 10.4 or higher.
On Verizon's 4G network, users can expect download speeds of 5 to 12M bps and upload speeds of 2 to 5M bps. Launched in December 2010, it covers 38 cities and 60 airports-an area, according to Verizon, that reaches one-third of all Americans. By 2013, the carrier plans to expand its 4G offering across its full 3G footprint-which users of the modem, in non-4G areas, would revert to.
Verizon, releasing details of its planned LTE launch in December, also offered 4G LTE USB modems from LG Electronics and Pantech, along with monthly data plans, starting at $50 for 5GB of data or $80 for 10GB, with each additional GB coming at a cost of $10.
Announcing that the 4G network would be "10 times" faster than Verizon's 3G network, Verizon CTO Tony Melone said that to prevent bill shock-the terrible moment of discovering one's monthly fee is far more than expected-Verizon has "a system in place that proactively [lets] users know when they've hit different percentages."
On March 17, Verizon began selling its first 4G-enabled smartphone, the HTC Thunderbolt, which features a 4.3-inch capacitive touch-screen, a rear-facing 8-megapixel camera and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video calling. It runs Android 2.2, HTC's Sense 2.0 user interface, can act as a WiFi hotspot for up to eight devices and, as a DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) device, can wirelessly send content to other DLNA devices-for example, stream an HD movie to an HDTV.
At $250, it also has a higher price than most smartphones.
"[Verizon] justifies the higher price not only with LTE, but also with 32GB of storage-equivalent to the $299 iPhone 4," Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart told eWEEK at the time of the phone's launch. "The user experience is also different. HTC Sense provides widgets and customizability, while the iPhone"-ever the phone to beat-"is deliberately simple."
Verizon Wireless is hard at work building out its 4G capabilities. After beginning to take orders for the Samsung 4G LTE (long-term evolution) Mobile Hotspot March 29, the wireless company announced it will also accept orders for a new Novatel Wireless USB-based 4G LTE wireless modem starting March 31.