Verizon Wireless has just announced that their 4G LTE network now covers more than 200 million Americans in 190 markets. It took them just 375 days to make that happen. David Small, Chief Technical Officer at Verizon Wireless, says: “That’s more than twice as fast as our 3G network rollout.” So which new markets got access today and pushed Verzion over the 200 million mark? Dover, Del.; Lafayette, Ind.; Fitchburg/Leominster, Mass.; Duluth, The Rochester Area and St. Cloud, Minn.; Manchester/Nashua, N.H.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Findlay/Tiffin and Youngstown/Warren, Ohio; and Indiana, Pa.
Compare that to AT&T, who launched their 4G LTE network roughly 3 months ago. They cover only a handful of cities, and they have a limited number of devices that can even take advantage of their new technology. When they launched the LG Nitro HD in late November their press release said: “AT&T plans to reach 70 million Americans with 4G LTE by year-end 2011.” In other words, their network covers just 35% the amount of people that Verizon’s network does. That’ll of course change with time, but for those of you who travel frequently, it’s an important statistic to know.
The real question on our minds is when will both AT&T and Verizon actually offer data plans for their new high speed wireless networks that are cheap and plentiful? Earlier today we reported that 6.05 million American homes don’t even bother signing up for cable or DSL, instead they just use either a USB dongle or tether. Think about how many more people would do that if data caps didn’t exist? Throttle data, by all means, that’s how wireless access is sold in several European countries, but remove the data caps.
Maybe we’re just naïve, but we think that the future is all about everything being wireless. From electricity, to data pipes, to the A/V connections to our television. The way data is currently priced, that future is being stunted.