Feature Article

December 06, 2010

Verizon, AT&T Share Jabs Over 4G LTE Launch

Verizon on Sunday launched its long-awaited 4G LTE service in nearly 40 major metropolitan cities and 60 airports. While the move has the majority of consumers excited about the possibility of a much faster mobile broadband experience, Verizon's launch didn't do much to impress its chief rival, AT&T.

On Thursday, AT&T chief technical officer John Donovan suggested in a company blog that telecom providers, like Verizon, that jump into LTE without first investing heavily in their current 3G networks are setting up their customers to experience "jarring speed degradation" when they are forced to leave the next-generation network, which only currently covers around one-third of the nation.

Verizon Wireless spokesperson Howard Waterman fired back at AT&T on Friday, telling News Factor Networks that the communications giant will not leave its 3G network behind.

"We continue to invest in and enhance our 3G network to stay ahead of the fast-growing demand by our Droid smartphone customers," Waterman told the news source in an e-mail.

"Their claim is untrue," he added. "We have invested $50 billion in our network since 2000, more than any other U.S. carrier."

AT&T's strong words are not all that surprising considering it is now the only major U.S. carrier to have yet to launch a 4G network. Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and Clearwire have all rolled out next-generation mobile broadband networks in the last 12 months. AT&T is expected to join this group sometime next year, but has yet to announce a launch date.

Verizon has claimed that its 4G LTE service offers ten times the speed of its 3G network. Unfortunately for holiday shoppers, the carrier will not introduce any 4G-enabled smartphones until the middle of next year. Until then, Verizon customers who want to take advantage of the network will have to purchase a 4G USB modem.

Beecher Tuttle is a MobilityTechzone contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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