Looks like the 4G wireless data race is set to heat up a bit faster than most thought — since now Verizon says it will launch some Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in the U.S. by this time next year.
Via a report from the always-reliable Stephen Lawson at IDG we learn that Verizon CTO Dick Lynch said Wednesday that “We [Verizon] expect that LTE will actually be in service somewhere here in the U.S. probably this time next year.” No mention in Lawson’s report about how fast Verizon expects the LTE service to be, or how users will access the service. But such an announcement is mostly about the hype, anyway, showing that Verizon is confident enough to start cranking up the marketing machinery.
Lynch went on to tell the audience at the Cisco analyst event that Verizon would also offer in-home femtocells, a strategy AT&T also plans to employ. Even though any 2009 LTE deployment will likely be small and with somewhat hobbled bandwidth, it’s clear for WiMax provider Clearwire that the big telcos are stepping up the marketing and competitive pressure in the race for 4G wireless market share. As we said last year, there’s still an opportunity for WiMax to gain ground but the new Clearwire needs to get moving, sooner rather than later.