Sprint is the first carrier in the United States to launch a 4G handset (HTC EVO 4G), but the others are hard at work expanding their networks. Verizon Wireless expects to launch its LTE 4G network in up to 30 markets in 2010, covering 100 million people. In the following years, an aggressive growth plan will result in full nationwide coverage by 2013.
Verizon is not expected to have LTE handsets till 2011, but they should have LTE based modems this year. In recent LTE trials in Boston, Verizon demonstrated download speeds of 8.5 Mbps and upload speeds of 2.2 Mbps. Other trials in Seattle resulted in average data rates of 5-12 Mbps down and 2-5 Mbps up. That is faster than results from Sprint’s 4G, but we will have to wait and see how Verizon’s LTE handsets perform.
Clearly Sprint has the upper hand with their early start on WiMAX 4G (and an actual handset), but that advantage might be short lived.