The next big format battle in the technology world will likely be that of WiMAX and LTE. WiMAX is already available in a few select cities around the country while LTE is still in the testing phase. However, Verizon is looking to start some commercial LTE rollouts this year.
InformationWeek reports that Verizon Wireless President and COO Denny Strigl has clarified the company's LTE game plan at a recent analysts meeting. He said, "We are working on a launch of commercial LTE services and up to 30 markets next year. Our plan is to cover 100 million POPS. In 2011 and 2012, we will continue to expand significantly with the ultimate goal being to cover all of our POPS with this great product by the end of 2013."
Verizon has long said that it would begin its LTE rollout in 2009 and it has named its first two LTE markets. The first cities to get Verizon LTE service will be Boston and Seattle. InformationWeek reports that the two cities are logical choices with Verizon operating its LTE Innovation Center in Boston and the company has an agreement in place with Microsoft, based in Seattle, to provide search services for its mobile customers.
Wireless expert Joe Nordgaard told InformationWeek in an interview, "LTE will give Verizon Wireless a big competitive advantage. They are putting their 700 MHz spectrum to good use."
One key component of the Verizon LTE game plan that is still unknown is pricing. Verizon is mum on how much it hopes to charge for the LTE service. LTE is expected to provide speeds of 15 to 100 times faster than current 3G services in America. Norgaard says that he expects Verizon to be "reasonably competitive" with pricing for current offerings.
Before the new LTE service hits in Boston and Seattle users will need new handsets and new modems for laptops. The LTE service is said to be somewhat backwards compatible though.