Feature Article

January 03, 2011

Verizon Wireless to Demonstrate 4G Phones, Services

This week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Verizon Wireless is expected to tell the world that it is ready to deliver 4G services. According to a report in Wall Street Journal, the wireless carrier will be demonstrating several 4G phones powered by Google Inc.’s operating system for new 4G network.

 At the show, writes Roger Cheng, the country's largest wireless carrier plans to demonstrate smartphones made by Samsung Electronics Co., Motorola Inc., HTC Corp. and LG Electronics Co., as well as a tablet computer. “They would be the first 4G phones from Verizon Wireless running on Google's Android operating system,” said Cheng in his write-up.

 Verizon Wireless, jointly owned by Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC, has aggressively marketed Google-powered phones to counter AT&T Inc.'sexclusive hold on Apple Inc.'s market-leading iPhone, as per the report in the WSJ journal.

In his WSJ report, Cheng writes that Verizon’s new smartphones will not be available until later this year. However, the wireless carrier is working aggressively to increase interest in its month-old 4G service to compete with Sprint Nextel, which has a two-year head start on 4G services. Sprint-Nextel, in fact, is now taking advantage of this trend to recover earlier subscriber losses.

In essence, Verizon Wireless launched its 4G network in December across 38 U.S. cities using the long-term evolution (LTE) technology. By comparison, Sprint Nextel introduced its 4G services in October of 2008 using WiMAX technology and going across 71 US cities.

Meanwhile, the 4G market gets more competitive as more players enter the fray. Recently, T-Mobile USA, part of Deutsche Telekom AG, also unveiled plans, and AT&T plans to roll out its own 4G network by summer.

For the first time, writes Cheng, Verizon Wireless will flex its muscles in a booth, along with partners such as smartphone makers, semiconductor chip suppliers and consumer-electronics companies.

Another attraction is the OnStar navigation system powered by Verizon’s 4G network. Existing OnStar systems run on the carrier's older network.

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

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