Tony Melone (Verizon CTO) has officially announced that Verizon’s 4G LTE* network will come online this Sunday, and will instantly cover 110M American customers, he says. That includes 38 metro areas and 60 airports with southern California being the largest market. Verizon thinks that it can build a coast-to-coast network by 2013. At launch time, there will be a couple of USB modems that will be sold for $100 (with $50 rebate and new contract). Obviously, the 4G devices also work on 3G networks as a backup.
The monthly plans include a $50/mo for 5GB one, and users can go over their plans for $10/GB. Users will receive alerts when they hit 50%, 75%, 90% and 100% of their allotted bandwidth. Bandwidth usage can also be checked from the Verizon access manager. If you want to look at the 4G coverage map, you will need to wait for Sunday. At the moment, 4G modems will be the only devices available. Smartphones will be announced at CES 2011.
Update: the transition from a 4G to 3G area will happen without loss of connectivity. However, when going from a 3G area to a 4G area, the devices will stay in 3G mode until a new connection is made.Links: official Verizon 4G page
Update 2: on Dec 5th, the Verizon USB modems will be available from Verizon only. Later on, other retailers (like Best Buy) will have them as well.
Update 3: At the press conference, a lot of people were asking when Verizon would have a unified plan, instead of using the voice+data plan. Verizon said that it could happen when the 4G footprint will be much larger. Technically, voice could go over 3G, while data uses 4G. However, that’s hypothetical and far from today’s reality. Also, a reporter mentioned that his 4G review unit was getting 10Mbps in download speed