Verizon Says 4G Phones Are Coming In May 2011

Verizon Wireless is working to quickly build a 4G wireless network, but it can’t beat Sprint (NYSE: S), which is launching its first 4G phone on June 4.

Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam said at the Reuters Global Technology Summit in New York that the company won’t be ready to launch phones until May 2011. At that time, it envisions having at least five 4G handsets available. He said the phones will likely be from Motorola (NYSE: MOT), HTC, LG (SEO: 066570) and RIM (NSDQ: RIMM). In the meantime, many of those same players with the addition of Samsung, will build tablets, running Google’s Android software, that could be ready as soon as the fourth quarter.

Both Verizon and Sprint will have to convince consumers to bite on the new gadgets despite far inferior coverage maps. By the fourth quarter, Verizon hopes to cover 100 million people in 25 to 30 markets including New York City. Right now, Sprint