Verizon to Launch LTE “4G” Network December 5th

Verizon announced Wednesday that it will launch its LTE “4G” network on December 5th, starting with 30 major U.S. markets (see below). The company will flip the switch on the much faster wireless data network with two products that can use it, and neither is a smartphone — the company said that the first LTE smartphones would hit the streets in mid-2011.

Verizon's LTE

Instead, Big Red will be offering two USB modems for road warriors looking for fast mobile networks for their laptops. Verizon’s LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network offers download speeds of up to 12 megabits per second, and the company said it expects real world performance on “loaded network environments” to be from 5 to 12 megabits per second. If it achieves those speeds, it will make this network the fastest in the U.S.

As we mentioned, there are no LTE smartphones on the market yet, and when they do hit, they’ll still use Verizon’s 3G network to make voice calls. That will be the case until at least 2012, leaving the LTE network for data alone. Verizon said it plans to have LTE coverage expand until it reaches all of the company’s current 3G network.

Verizon has said it will be announcing some LTE smartphones at CES in January, and the first units will hit the street in mid-2011. There was no mention of the iPhone, of course, but those hungering for a Verizon iPhone will note that Apple usually introduces new iPhone models in the middle of the year, and it has long, long, long, long, long, long been rumored that Apple will be bringing the iPhone to Verizon in 2011 (though most of those rumors have centered around a CDMA model, not an LTE model).

Until then, if you live or work in one of the markets below, you can grab one of two modems for US$99.99 with a two-year contract, after a $50 rebate. Data plans for the devices will be $50 for up to 5GB of throughput and $80 for up to 10GB of throughput. Both modems will be backwards compatible with Verizon’s 3G network.

Below are the cities and airports where the service will launch on December 5th.

Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Initial Major Metropolitan Area Deployment (Dec. 5, 2010)

Akron, Ohio
Athens, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia
Baltimore, Maryland
Boston, Massachusetts
Charlotte, North Carolina
Chicago, Illinois
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, Dallas, Texas
Denver, Colorado
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Houston, Texas
Jacksonville, Florida
Las Vegas, Nevada
Los Angeles, California
Miami, Florida
Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota
Nashville, Tennessee
New Orleans, Louisiana
New York, New York
Oakland, California
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Orlando, Florida
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Phoenix, Arizona
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Rochester, New York
San Antonio, Texas
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
San Jose, California
Seattle/Tacoma, Washington
St. Louis, Missouri
Tampa, Florida
Washington, D.C.
West Lafayette, Indiana
West Palm Beach, Florida

Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Initial Commercial Airport Deployment (Airport Name, City, State) Dec. 5, 2010

Austin-Bergstrom International, Austin, Texas
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshal, Glen Burnie, Maryland
Bob Hope, Burbank, California
Boeing Field/King County International, Seattle, Washington
Charlotte/Douglas International, Charlotte, North Carolina
Chicago Midway International, Chicago, Illinois
Chicago O’Hare International, Chicago, Illinois
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International, Covington, Kentucky
Cleveland-Hopkins International, Cleveland, Ohio
Dallas Love Field, Dallas, Texas
Dallas/Fort Worth International, Fort Worth, Texas
Denver International, Denver, Colorado
Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
George Bush Intercontinental/Houston, Houston, Texas
Greater Rochester International, Rochester, New York
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Atlanta, Georgia
Honolulu International, Honolulu, Hawaii
Jacksonville International, Jacksonville, Florida
John F. Kennedy International, New York, New York
John Wayne Airport-Orange County, Santa Ana, California
Kansas City International, Kansas City, Missouri
La Guardia, New York, New York
Lambert-St. Louis International, St. Louis, Missouri
Laurence G. Hanscom Field, Bedford, Massachusetts
Long Beach/Daugherty Field, Long Beach, California
Los Angeles International, Los Angeles, California
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International, Metairie, Louisiana
McCarran International, Las Vegas, Nevada
Memphis International, Memphis, Tennessee
Metropolitan Oakland International, Oakland, California
Miami International, Miami, Florida
Minneapolis-St. Paul International/Wold-Chamberlain, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Nashville International, Nashville, Tennessee
New Castle, Wilmington, Delaware
Newark Liberty International, Newark, New Jersey
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International, San Jose, California
North Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
Orlando International, Orlando, Florida
Orlando Sanford International, Sanford, Florida
Palm Beach International, West Palm Beach, Florida
Philadelphia International, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Phoenix Sky Harbor International, Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix-Mesa Gateway, Mesa, Arizona
Pittsburgh International, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Port Columbus International, Columbus, Ohio
Portland International, Portland, Oregon
Rickenbacker International, Columbus, Ohio
Ronald Reagan Washington National, Arlington, Virginia
Sacramento International, Sacramento, California
Salt Lake City International, Salt Lake City, Utah
San Antonio International, San Antonio, Texas
San Diego International, San Diego, California
San Francisco International, San Francisco, California
Seattle-Tacoma International, Seattle, Washington
St. Augustine, Saint Augustine, Florida
St. Petersburg-Clearwater International, Clearwater, Florida
Tampa International, Tampa, Florida
Teterboro, Teterboro, New Jersey
Trenton Mercer, Trenton, New Jersey
Washington Dulles International, Dulles International Airport, Washington, D.C.
Will Rogers World, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
William P. Hobby, Houston, Texas