Verizon Wireless has revealed its ambitious plans to roll out 4G, LTE (long term evolution) cellular data coverage to 38 total markets by the end of the calendar year — up from the 30 cities promised earlier — along with “half-a-dozen” smartphones and tablets released throughout the first half of 2011. These juicy tidbits of information were announced by Verizon Communications President and COO Lowell McAdam, who just recently left the role of Verizon Wireless President and CEO, and is expected to eventually replace company Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg.
Unlike Sprint, which initially lit up its 4G WiMax network in mostly medium-sized markets, Verizon is targeting major population centers right from the start, immediately blanketing Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. among the launch cities. Besides these large-scale roll outs, Verizon also plans to enable LTE at select airports across the country, including some in cities not generally covered by the speedy 700MHz pipe; residents of metropolises like Kansas City, Missouri or Trenton, New Jersey need only make a quick jaunt over to the nearest terminal whenever they feel the need to get their LTE on.
According to Verizon, real-world speeds will vary from 5Mbps to 12Mbps downstream and 2Mbps to 5Mbps upstream, which frankly is better than the cable modem speed test we just ran five seconds ago. We’ll see how those speeds stand up to the crushing weight of a million iPhones, but at least for early adopters, riding that LTE wave sure sounds like it’s gonna be sweet.
Note: Just to be clear, the huge red swaths in the map above represent Verizon’s current 3G coverage, with 4G launch cities depicted by those small black dots.