Last month Verizon announced its plan to offer 4 G wireless service to Seattle by the end of the year. 4 G is a new-technology market already offered in Seattle by Sprint and T-Mobile, so naturally Verizon wants to join in the race. AT&T Mobility, having exclusive rights to the iPhone at this time (which is NOT 4 G), hasn’t announced plans to join the 4 G race in 2011. If they do join in the fray, can we assume then that AT&T will be pushing for 4 G iPhone?
Verizon Targeting Seattle for 4 G Wireless Service
4 G wireless technology allows users to have download speeds and network capacity to handle even the newest services on their mobile devices. These services include live TV, high definition movies in real time, video conferencing, etc. 4 G (4th generation) is being offered by 2 competing companies in the Seattle area, LTE and WiMax. LTE is supported by Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T, while WiMax is supported by Sprint and Clearwire, a Kirkland based company.
Typically the majority of Smartphones utilize the 3 G network, providing roughly 1.5 to 2.5 megabits of data per second. The new 4 G network generally delivers more than 10 megabits per second (mbs) at the top end range. To view live HD movies with a smooth, uninterrupted viewing most experts agree that between 3.5 and 4.5 mbs is needed. You can see why consumers are clamoring for the 4 G service.
Verizon coverage will be fairly inclusive in the Seattle area. Its anticipated coverage will be roughly from Lynnwood on the north to Fife in the south; the Seattle waterfront on the west and Redmond and Issaquah to the east. Coverage will also be available in Auburn, Bellevue, Bothell, Burien, Covington, Des Moines, Edmonds, Federal Way, Kenmore, Kent, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Mill Creek, Renton, Sammamish, South Everett, Tukwila, and Woodinville. Sea-Tac (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport) will also be included in the coverage. Nationwide, the coverage will extend to 38 major cities and 60 commercial airports.
Verizon will be initially offering 4 G for only USB modems and air card devices for laptops. Verizon plans to offer the 4 G wireless service for 4G Smartphones sometime in 2011, but hasn’t announced a specific date. Sprint has been offering 4 G for Smartphones since Fall 2009, and T-Mobile since June 2010. Verizon is a bit behind in the race, and with only USB modems and air cards in the immediate plans, it doesn’t seem like Verizon is too serious about the competition. As I said earlier, AT&T has not announced plans to offer the 4 G wireless in Seattle, but it has been rebuilding its Seattle-area infrastructure and updating its software. (Hmmm….) With Verizon coming into the market by the end of the year, AT&T would be the only major player not playing.
Your 3 G cell phone will not be obsolete, yet. LTE and WiMax have assured us that the 4 G network is compatible with phones only capable of 3 G service, and that 4G phones will be backward-compatible when their customers stray into 3G-only signal areas. I know this is a major relief to those people who hate to upgrade their cell phones.
Are you excited by the new 4 G technology? Will you be watching streaming video on your phone? I appreciate the video I can watch on my Droid X on the 3 G service, but having an air card for my laptop that streams at the higher speed would be nice. Of course I live in rural northern California, so it will be a long wait for 4 G. We still have dial up Internet service in some areas.