All to hit before 2H 2011.
Verizon's LTE press conference kicked off with CEO Dan Mead and his glorious mustache. It looked like a great, bushy caterpillar spun a hairy gray cocoon under his nose. Dan first introduced Verizon's new Rural LTE Initiative. Their goal is to spread 4G broadband services to rural America. The announcement got a lot of cheers, but Dan provided no hard information on exactly how much will be covered or when it will roll out. So Big Red wants to expand to the boonies...but they aren't yet ready to tell us how.
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Another Verizon executive with a big fat mustache came up next. His face-warmer was much smaller than Mead's, with the edges of it trimmed down. Maybe he is under orders to keep his 'stache smaller than the boss? The next few minutes were filled with a laundry list of Verizon's LTE achievements. The meat of it? 2011 will see Verizon 4G expand to 140 new markets.
Then the whole Verizon crew took to the stage. The lights dimmed, explosions echoed on the screens behind the presenters and two tables slid into view, packed with ten new LTE devices. Four smartphones, two tablets, two laptops and two MiFi hotspots will all launch in 1H 2011. Some of them will be out in homes by March. The two tablets are the Samsung Galaxy Tab LTE and the Motorola Xoom. The smartphones come from Samsung, Motorola, LG and HTC.
All these new devices will come with always-on Skype Mobile integration. No longer will you have to schedule calls with your friends and family. Skype over LTE makes you available to video chat at any time.
With the announcement's done, the Verizon team started to field questions. One reporter asked how Big Red would keep speeds high under server strain. Mead explained that the extreme speeds now - 16 + Mbps in many markets, will go down a bit under the full load. But he promised that the network was fully capable of delivering 5-12 Mbps speeds, even under a crushing load of customers. Another reporter asked about simultaneous voice and data. The answer here was more muddled. Apparently, SOME LTE devices -might- support it. But not all, and not definitely.
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That done, Dan Mead and his mighty cadre of mustaches left the stage to thunderous applause.