Is Verizon's LTE Network A Double-Edged Sword?

Posted: Dec 3 2010, 12:19pm CST | by , in News | Technology News


Is Verizon's LTE Network a Double-Edged Sword?
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5GB cap takes 32 minutes to use.

If you are any kind of tech geek, you have to be salivating over Verizon's new LTE network. Big Red brags in-use speeds of 5-12 Mbps, which puts this "4G" solution ahead of WiMAX and HSPA+. It isn't quite real 4G, but it is light years above 3G and will blanket pretty much the whole US by 2013.

Right now your only LTE options are a pair of dongles, but new smartphone options will roll out in early 2011. LTE worth the try? How great is it in the wild?

Preliminary tests from a number of websites (via Gizmodo) across the country show 'slow' speeds of 7-9 Mbps. MSNBC tested the network in Seattle and found staggering speeds of 32.8 Mbps, which beat the reviewer's home cable network speeds.

Upload speeds were around 1.12-2.9 Mbps at the low-end and topped out at 11.99 Mbps in Seattle. Most tests saw upload speeds ranging from 5-6 Mbps.

So yeah- LTE kicks butt. Substantially more butt than any other "4G" solution, based on these early findings. But that doesn't mean it will be a good buy for you. If you don't do a LOT of browsing, but want what you DO to be speedy, LTE may be the right choice. But if you are a power-user? Beware.

Verizon's LTE network has a 5 GB / month data cap at the $50 price range. PC Mag managed to kill all of that in a mere 32 minutes. That's exactly how long it takes a 21 Mbps connection to download a 5 GB file.

Using BitTorrent, they found download speeds of 5.6 Mbps...which means 2 hours to kill that cap. Netflix is a little more cost-effective. It takes 7.4 hours total to stream your way through 5 GB of media. In other words...not quite four movies.

Clearwire says that their WiMAX users average about 7 GB / month. With a potential 21 Mbps at their back, Verizon LTE users are likely to use even more data than that. Which may mean quite a few $10 / GB overage charges.

So. If you want a "4G" connection, Verizon will give you insane speed at the cost of limited use and nasty overage. Sprint/Clearwire will give you moderately-less-insane speeds with unlimited data use. Honestly, it's pretty much a toss up. Just make sure you know what you're getting your pocket-book into if you go with Verizon.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/5" rel="author">Robert Evans</a>
The excitement about new smartphones, tablets and anything mobile drive Robert to unearth the latest rumors and developments in this fast moving space. He adopted 4G as soon as it become available and knows where the mobile market is going.
Robert can be contacted directly at




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