“4G” Showdown: Tale of the Tape

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Now that the Verizon Wireless 4G network has a launch date of Dec. 5 and pricing attached, let’s take a look at how it stacks up to the competition. The term 4G, mind you, is a bit muddled as no service currently offers true 4G speeds.

Ss Verizon Wireless CTO Tony Melone said, this is a “generational” bump up in performance: 10x compared to the Verizon’s existing 3G network. But Verizon is still trailing Sprint’s rollout of WiMAX, which has come on strong lately with deployments in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Meanwhile, T-Mobile has rebranded its HSPA+ network as a 4G network, because it can deliver competitive speeds, and we haven’t even talked about AT&T, which is also rolling out HSPA+, and has plans to roll out LTE in 2011, which it reminded us about today.

So what should you consider in a “4G” network? Here’s a look at three of the largest carriers touting high-performance 4G networks today:

4G Service Providers Verizon Wireless (LTE) Sprint/Clearwire (WiMAX) T-Mobile (HSPA+ 21)
Speed – download 5-12 Mbps 3-6 Mbps 5-8 Mbps
Speed – upload 2-5 Mbps 1 Mbps 2.4 Mbps in tests
Coverage by end of 2010 110 million people 120 million people 200 million
Prices (modem) $50 for 5 GB/month 

$80 for 10 GB/month

$60 for unlimited data on 4G + 

5 GB on 3G

$25 for 200 MB/month 

$40 for 5GB/month

Devices Two USB modems Two handsets, portable hotspots, modems. Two phones and modems

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