Three years after committing to LTE as its fourth-generation network standard, Verizon Wireless announced on Wednesday that it will be launching the new network on December 5th in select U.S. cities.
A total of 38 cities in the United States will make up the first crop of LTE-enabled networks, as well as 60 airports across the country.
At a press conference today, Verizon Wireless promised the network will offer speeds between 5-12 Mbps downlink and 2-5 Mbps uplink, which echoes the figures it gave back in March. In promotions for its Boston LTE field tests in May, Verizon showed a real-world system delivering 8.55 Mbps downlink speeds and 2.80 Mbps uplink.
The first hardware to support the LTE network will be two USB modems priced at after contracts and rebates. Verizon said there won’t be LTE handsets until mid-2011, despite the fact that there is currently a CDMA/LTE handset from Samsung available now in the United States through MetroPCS.
As for data plans, Verizon Wireless will start at per month for 5GB of data, and per month for 10GB. Interestingly, this is actually cheaper than Verizon’s current 3G USB Modem plans, which cost .99 for 250MB per month, and .99 for 5GB per month. We’ve sent an inquiry to Verizon Wireless today to see if 3G plans will be adjusted as the LTE rollout continues.