Verizon claims 5-12 Mbps 4G LTE service in 25+ markets, but where's the hardware?

Still racing for an LTE launch in the second half of this year, Verizon Wireless has been testing its trial 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks in Boston and Seattle since last August.

Today the wireless network operator says it will be able to deliver speeds between 5-12 Mbps downlink and 2-5 Mbps uplink at launch.

"Our LTE rollout plan positions Verizon Wireless to be a global leader in 4G LTE deployment. We are on track to deliver an outstanding wireless data experience to customers in 25 to 30 markets covering roughly 100 million people by year's end," Tony Melone, senior vice president and chief technical officer at Verizon Wireless said in a statement this morning. "As device makers, manufacturers and others around the world begin to introduce newer and faster products to take advantage of these incredible new speeds, Verizon Wireless will be positioned to offer our customers new and exciting products on the nation's first 4G LTE network."

The first commercial deployments of LTE belong to TeliaSonera in Norway and Sweden, which opened for business last December. However, consumer equipment that can take advantage of the increased bandwidth continues to be seriously limited. Nokia announced it was the first to make an LTE modem, and TeliaSonera partnered with Samsung to offer a USB LTE dongle, but there are currently no smartphones or consumer devices utilizing the technology.

Last year, Verizon CEO Dick Lynch said LTE laptop modems and handsets won't be out until a year after the LTE network launches.

Meanwhile, the United States' fifth largest network operator MetroPCS expects its LTE network to be completed in the second half of 2010 as well. Like TeliaSonera, MetroPCS has partnered with Samsung for its first consumer LTE device.

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