Verizon's LTE coming Dec. 5

The wait for Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) new LTE service will soon be over. The operator announced it would be launching LTE service in its 38 previously announced markets on Dec. 5.

lte marketsDuring a conference call with analysts and reporters, Verizon CTO Tony Melone heavily emphasized the capabilities of the network. "This is the real deal. It's a brand new network from the ground up that is side-by-side (with) our 3G network," Melone said. "It's based on the latest technical standards. It will provide a launching pad for the future of mobile communications for the next 10 years."

Melone stuck with previous claims that the network will perform at data speeds of 5-12 Mbps on the downlink and 2-5 Mbps on the uplink and said latency will almost mirror the latency on a wired network. Malone also indicated that the LTE network will give Verizon's 3G network more headroom and the ability to provide more services there. It's an interesting comment given the fact that Verizon is rumored to get its hands on a CDMA version of the iPhone next year.

At launch time on Sunday, Verizon will offer a USB modem from LG with two simple data plans: $50 for 5 GB of data per month and $80 for 10 GB of data. If subscribers go over their data allotments, they pay an extra $10 for each 1 GB of data. Customers also have to sign a two-year agreement and pay $100 for the modem after a $50 rebate. Another modem from Pantech is also expected to come to market soon after Verizon's launch.

The $50 plan undercuts Verizon's current 3G rate plans by about $10. Melone said Verizon is coming to market with these simple pricing schemes to attract new users. He added that as the network evolves so will the pricing plans.

"We focused on giving customers the ability to do more, and the $80 price plan is the one we feel customers might gravitate to, to meet their needs," he said. 

Collectively, Verizon's 38 markets have a population of more than 110 million POPs. Verizon plans to expand its footprint to cover roughly 200 million Americans by 2012, and to more than 285 million by 2013. Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) said it's on target to have 120 million POPs covered with WiMAX service by the end of the year.

 For more:
- see this release
- see this Verizon LTE FAQ page
- see this Verizon site

Related articles:
Verizon launching LTE in December
Verizon hints at LTE pricing based on data speed
Verizon to launch LTE in 38 markets this year
Verizon lighting up LTE in 30 'NFL cities' this year
Verizon: LTE will bring 5-12 Mbps download speeds