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.
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Right now your only LTE options are a pair of dongles, but new smartphone options will roll out in early 2011. So...is 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.
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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.