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Verizon 4G Network Bows Dec. 5

Verizon Wireless will turn on its 4G network this Sunday, Dec. 5 in 38 major metropolitan areas and in more than 60 commercial airports, reaching more than one-third of the U.S. population. Laptop and business users will get first crack at the network, which will offer 5-12 megabits per second (Mbps) speeds for downloads and 2-5 Mbps for uplinks, about 10 times faster than existing 3G networks. 4G consumer-oriented handsets aren't expected to hit the market before mid-2011.

"Our initial 4G LTE launch gives customers access to the fastest and most advanced mobile network in America and immediately reaches more than one third of all Americans, right where they live," said Dan Mead, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless, in a statement. "That's just the start. We will quickly expand 4G LTE and by 2013 will reach the existing Verizon Wireless 3G coverage area."

Verizon is offering two 4G LTE Mobile Broadband data plans, a $50 per month plan with a 5 GB monthly allowance and a $80 per month plan with a 10 GB cap. For laptop connectivity, the LG VL600 modem will be available at launch and a Pantech UML290 mobile will be available soon thereafter. Both modems are priced at $99.99 after a $50 rebate and require a two year contract.