Verizon's LTE rollout seems to be proceeding faster than expected, based on leaked roadmap documents. LTE will be the basis of Verizon's 4G network, and will compete with Sprint, which has had 4G all to itself (via WiMax) until now.
Sprint, however, hasn't been able to take advantage of its lead in 4G, as its only 4G handset, the Evo 4G, has been back-ordered for much of its life.
According to the report, Verizon hopes to cover a large amount of the U.S. population with LTE by the end of 2010, around 120 million. Note that the number is pure population coverage, and not subscriber coverage. Those covered will include areas such as Atlanta, GA and Athens, GA, as well as Dallas, Denton, Fort Worth and Weatherford, TX.
Meanwhile, in 2011, Verizon hopes to cover all universities and colleges, certainly a tall order. Cities in Alabama and Louisiana will go live, as well as new markets.
In 2012, Verizon hopes to cover major highways and interstates. All cities within an approximate radius of 30 miles from the interstate / highway system will receive 4G.
By 2013, Verizon's entire 3G network as it exists today is expected to be completely covered by LTE service.
Of course, as Sprint can readily tell Verizon, none of this matters without devices to access the 4G network. Those will first appear in November, with data cards showing up. Handsets will begin to appear (or at least, be announced) in January of 2011 (and if the forecasts of a Verizon iPhone are true, one must wonder if that will be one of them).
With all the talk of capped data plans coming to Verizon, that question has to be asked. Reportedly, 3G will continue to be unlimited. 3G/4G will be combined on one plan, with 3G unlimited, and 4G capped. It's unclear as yet what the caps will be, but the source seemed to indicate that 5GB might be a good guess.
Naturally, this is all rumor until Verizon issues a press release. For now, the most interesting confirmed
report from Verizon is the Droid will be getting Froyo next week.