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Verizon Rolling Out 4G in 30 U.S. Cities

Thursday during a meeting with enterprise IT managers, Verizon Wireless senior federal sales executive Bernie McMonagle revealed plans to launch its 4G LTE wireless network in 30 US "National Football League Cities" by the end of 2010. McMonagle said that the remainder of the country would acquire 4G support in stages until the entire nation had access to the 4G network by 2013.

According to Verizon's roadmap, the 4G network uses a large chunk of 700 MHz spectrum Verizon previously acquired from the FCC. It will also use a flat IP addressing model--a method of identifying a device using symbolic names rather than the previous old-school telephone numbering scheme. The 4G network standard would also be IPv6 to support the vast number of new devices. Currently Verizon is beefing up the network's backbone by upgrading company cell sites to Gigabit Ethernet where possible.

McMonagle said that the first phase of the 4G roll-out will support download speeds of 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps, and upload speeds of 2 Mbps to 5 Mbps. The company would also provide latency of 30 to 150 milliseconds.

The first devices expected to initially take advantage of the new 4G network will be wireless cards for laptops. McMonagle said that monitoring devices--those that regulate equipment ranging from refrigerators to traffic sensors--would also be the first on the network, adding that the prices for such devices would drop quickly after hitting the market.

Naturally the drawback to the Q4 2010 launch is that Verizon's 4G network won't be immediately available to smartphones. Current models do not access the 700 MHz frequency range--LTE phones are also in extremely short supply. With that said, compatible smartphones may not enter the market until 2012.