Verizon begins LTE roll-out in San Francisco Q4 2010

Well I probably wouldn’t have believed it if I read it somewhere else, but today I pretty much got word direct from the horses mouth: Verizon is rolling out LTE in San Francisco this September. While sitting at an undisclosed Starbucks location, I had to Verizon executives sit down right next to me. Well actually they were in front of me in line and they were clearly working for Verizon. How do I know? Not only did were they carrying Verizon branded leather portfolios, you know – the kind you use in company meetings, and they also had Droid X phones in hand, PLUS an American Express card which had Verizon on it as the company name – therefore, they are district level or higher personnel (which I think was the latter as I’ll get into in a moment). UPDATED INFORMATION AND PIC AT THE END OF POST!

Remember, we’ve already seen LTE Samsung SCH-R900 dual-mode CDMA / LTE phone with Bluetooth, 802.11b/g WiFi, dual-band 1700 / 1900 LTE and EvDO data-pass through the FCC within the last week and BGR spied the first Verizon Wireless’ first LTE LG USB modem dongle. So it became clearer a I listened to the conversation in Starbucks that these two guys were much higher up in the company.

But the interesting part came when they came and sat next to me, as they were waiting for some Foo-Foo drinks that they had ordered and I just got an iced tea. They began the conversation with notebooks open and lots of writing all over them. I could make out MHz a few times throughout the yellow-paper tablet. Also, I saw LTE written in a few places too. Then as they began conversing in depth, I clearly over-heard the two gentleman speaking about the 700MHz spectrum and how this is a huge advantage for Verizon. There was some discussion about Sprint and WiMax and how Verizon’s LTE would be superior to WiMax (but we’ll have to wait and see about that in person). Then the two executives began discussing LTE (at this point in started to get noisy because of two cackling girls next to me) but I could clearly overhear them staying “Verizon will begin roll-out of LTE in San Francisco starting in September.” Well we know that this is not that far off because Motorola is starting LTE on the 700Mhz spectrum in San Francisco for for public safety organizations, the first of it’s kind in the country. Also, Verizon did have a number of about 100 million Americans that were going to be covered by LTE at the end of this year.

Now whether there will be several or any devices at all for sale at roll-out is another story, but these executives were clearly riding a pretty good high on LTE chat and with the Half-Caf Mocas or whatever they were drinking. Confirming this was IntoMobile’s source of LTE expansion this year:

2010 Roadmap
Our source tells us that this year, both Atlanta and Athens, GA will go live with Verizon’s LTE network along with Dallas, Denton, Fort Worth and Weatherford, TX. Additionally, a good chunk of east Massachusetts will be covered with LTE bringing the total population coverage up to 115-120 million people this year.
Other cities included in the 115-120 million population wasn’t mentioned to us by our source. Not bad for what seems to be a roll-out that’s ahead of schedule. And, there is much more coming next year.

2011 Roadmap
In 2011, all universities and most colleges and cities in Louisiana will go live: Shreveport, LA; Bossier City, LA; Monroe, LA; Alexandria, LA; Natchitoches, LA; Baton Rouge, LA; New Orleans area, LA; Lake Charles, LA; Lafayette, LA. For Mississippi: Oxford, Jackson, Tupelo, Olive Branch, South Haven, Vicksburg, Hattiesburg, Columbus, Starkville, Meridian and Biloxi. In Alabama: Huntsville, Florence/Shoals, Birmingham, Auburn, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, Dothan/Enterprise, Mobile, Troy and Columbus. This also includes new markets like Morgantown, WV.

2012 Roadmap
In 2012, all major highways and interstates and all cities within an approximate radius of 30 miles from the interstates/highways will receive 4G. And in 2013, the entire 3G network as it exists today will be completely overlaid by Verizon’s 4G or LTE network.

LTE Handsets
As far as 4G handsets and data cards go, Verizon will release information on upcoming 4G phones in January. Two or three 4G data cards will be released this November.

New BlackBerry Storm, Android phone on the way
Amidst all this LTE news, there will also be some new 3G phones coming very soon. We’re told that a third iteration of the BlackBerry Storm will be coming, but it won’t be called a BlackBerry Storm 3. There will also be a new Curve and some BlackBerry flip phones, although we don’t have too many more details on those. It’s not all BlackBerry, however, as we also got word that more Android handsets will be on the way.

New Data Plans On The Way
Now, as far as the data plans go, 3G will be unlimited, but the new 4G data bundles will be capped. Our understanding is that the 4G plan won’t be separate from 3G plans, but will be included. So when you sign up for the $30 data plan, 3G will naturally be unlimited while your 4G/LTE usage might be limited to roughly 5GB per month. One thing our source did tell us is that the caps may be more or less than 5GB, but that was the estimated guess for now.

Now that we have confirmed San Francisco to be lit up with LTE (data cards at the minimum) in the next month or so, we can only assume that Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago would be covered fairly soon. Is it good to be a Verizon customer now and are you going to make the jump to an LTE handset soon?

UPDATE: BGR was provided an image showing a diagram of the exact information we reported above – not long after my post and what do we have? San Francisco and it appears Sacramento both made it to the successful LTE calls list! Certainly exciting news to double confirm this information today!

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About Tony P
Connoisseur of all that is Mobile Tech.

2 Responses to Verizon begins LTE roll-out in San Francisco Q4 2010

  1. midibite says:

    I really hope that this is the case with LTE in the Bay Area. It would be a welcomed relief.

  2. darth storm says:

    If this is correct it is a serious win for Verizon. Now AT&T needs to step up to the plate and get their LTE rolling out sooner than later.

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