Verizon Wireless (s vz) will bring its first 4G handsets to market by the middle of 2011, CTO Anthony Melone said in a Wall Street Journal piece (hat tip Engadget). But using those super-fast Long Term Evolution phones is going to cost you.
We learned last year that Verizon would launch its first LTE phones sometime in 2011, but the new ETA is several months earlier than the company had previously forecast. The phones will support promised speeds of 5-12 Mbps on download and 2-5 Mbps on uploads on the LTE network, which will launch in 25-30 markets this year.
But Melone also said that all-you-can-eat data plans are “the big issue that has to change.” (AT&T’s (s t) Ralph de la Vega made similar comments in December, pointing the finger at data-hungry iPhone (s aapl) users.) Verizon Communications CTO Dick Lynch in January told the Washington Post that LTE pricing would likely involve a base subscriber fee plus usage charges for bandwidth consumed. That scenario could apply to several different pricing models, as Stacey has noted. Regardless of how, exactly, Verizon chooses to bill for 4G service, one thing is clear: High-end users are going to pay substantially more than they’ve been paying for 3G.
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