Rumor Mill: Verizon preps LG, Pantech LTE dongles

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) is preparing to launch two LTE USB dongles as its first commercial devices for its next-generation network, according to the blog Phone Arena.

The blog, citing an internal Verizon test page, said the carrier will offer the LG VL600 and Pantech UML290 USB modems in its first wave of device launches. The carrier has consistently said that its first LTE devices will be USB modems, followed by smartphones and other devices next year.

A Verizon spokeswoman declined to comment.

The LG device was first discovered this summer in FCC documents, which confirmed the device will support Verizon's 700 MHz LTE network along with its EVDO data service.

Verizon plans to launch LTE this year in a total of 38 cities and more than 60 airports, covering 110 million POPs. Verizon Communications President and COO Lowell McAdam said in October that the carrier will expand coverage to 200 million POPs by 2012 and more than 285 million by 2013.

The nation's largest carrier has not yet announced when it will launch the service, which promises real-world downlink speeds of 5-12 Mbps and latency speeds half those of the company's 3G network. Verizon also has not yet indicated how much it will charge for the service.

Interestingly, AT&T Mobility's (NYSE:T) recently announced an LTE-capable USB stick (also made by LG) that will not work on Verizon's LTE network, even though both carriers plan to deploy LTE on the 700 MHz band. Verizon acquired most of the 700 MHz C Block spectrum (which lies in band class 13) in 2008, while many of AT&T's 700 MHz licenses sit in the lower C and B Blocks (which lie in band class 17). Thus, to reliably roam from AT&T's LTE network to Verizon's, device makers will first have to build LTE devices that support band classes 13 and 17. AT&T and Verizon also would have to ink an LTE roaming agreement.

For more:
- see this Phone Arena post
- see this Electronista post

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