Verizon Launching LTE Trials This Year

Although we’re not quite there yet, 60Mbps wireless high speed Internet isn’t too far from reality. This week at the Mobile World Congress show, Verizon Wireless confirmed details of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) roll out, which is set to begin later this year as trials in two yet-to-be-named cities. Through these trials, Verizon Wireless will get a better feel for the actual data rates commercial users can expect. Based on Verizon’s and Vodafone 's trials in Minneapolis, Columbus, Ohio, northern New Jersey, and several European locations, the peak rate for LTE is 60Mbps.

Verizon Wireless’ LTE network will use gear from Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson along with the 700MHz spectrum Verizon won at a federal spectrum auction. LTE will initially target laptop users. These users will likely need a plug-in card or dongle to access the service since the first LTE smartphones aren’t expected to be available until mid-2011. Previously, Verizon CTO Richard Lynch said Verizon would roll out femtocells (think mini-cellular base stations) for businesses and homes to use to improve LTE signal penetration and coverage indoors. No pricing plans for LTE have been announced.

This new Verizon network will definitely compete with Sprint and Clearwire’s WiMAX 4G network, which is currently available in select cities. AT&T has also announced plans to move to LTE, though no rollout announcements have been made.

Verizon Wireless’ commercial LTE service is expected to go live in 2010 in 25 to 30 markets. Although it will take some time to get here, the potential for 60Mbps wireless high speed Internet definitely has us thinking of possible uses. What would you do with these types of mobile broadband speeds?