Verizon Wireless said it will launch its 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network on Sunday, Dec. 5, with initial pricing set at $80 per month for up to 10 Gb of data downloads, or $50 for up to 5 Gb per month, according to a company announcement made via teleconference today. The USB modems to access the service will cost $100 after rebate, and the service will launch live in all 38 markets and 60 airports that Verizon announced in October.
According to senior vice president and wireless chief technology officer Tony Melone, the two “simple” pricing plans are aimed mainly at business professional users who either know they need a lot of data, or who want to try 4G but aren’t sure if they will surpass the standard 5 Gb limit. As we predicted Verizon is likely to change pricing and data plans later as the network and customer base matures. “As the network evolves, more around pricing will evolve,” said Melone in response to a conference-call question. “We wanted to keep it simple out of the box.”
At launch only the LG VL600 USB modem will be available, followed soon by the Pantech UML290, according to Verizon. Official pricing is $99.99 for either modem after a $50 rebate. All contracts require a 2-year agreement.
As we expected, the first salvo of Verizon’s 4G LTE blitz was predictable and perhaps a bit boring — no new data plans, no prepaid plans, no devices other than laptop modems. Melone said that Verizon will have much more to say about more LTE devices (like smartphones) at the upcoming 2011 CES show, where Verizon has already said it will share the stage with Google CEO Eric Schmidt.