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Verizon Wireless to launch first LTE smartphone

16 марта 2011

Verizon Wireless said it would launch its first 4G smartphone, the HTC Corp. ThunderBolt, on Thursday, finally bringing a consumer-friendly device to its super-fast mobile network.

The ThunderBolt will sell for $249.99 with a two-year contract. Despite hints of a new pricing structure for its fourth-generation wireless service, the smartphone can be purchased with a standard monthly voice plan starting at $39.99 and unlimited data at $29.99.

The ThunderBolt marks the first product on Verizon's 4G network with mass appeal, important as the carrier looks to drive users onto its newly built network. While Verizon's 4G network has been up and running since late last year, it previously only sold laptop aircards that are often snapped up by corporate travelers. 4G services offers a faster connection than more widely available third-generation services.

Verizon Wireless, which is jointly owned by Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC, is racing to catch up to Sprint Nextel Corp. in the 4G game, with Sprint holding a significant lead in the number of 4G-capable products in the market, including three smartphones. The 4G label is starting to lose its value as a competitive edge with AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG, also embracing the term.

The Thunderbolt is only the first of several 4G devices Verizon plans to launch this year. At a trade show in January, the carrier showed off three other smartphones with the same capability, including ones from Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., and LG Electronics Inc.

Like the coming wave of next-generation smartphones, the ThunderBolt when on the 4G network has the capability to handle both simultaneous data and voice calls--one of the biggest knocks on on Verizon Wireless. But unique to the Thunderbolt is to ability to run simultaneous data and voice over the 3G network, thanks to a special design from HTC.

Fittingly, the ThunderBolt shares many qualities with the Evo, the first 4G smartphone for Sprint which was also built by HTC. The phone, which features a 4.3-inch screen, is slightly larger to accommodate a larger battery to handle the more power-intensive 4G connection. Like the Evo, it features a built-in kickstand for media viewing, it faces the same dual-facing cameras, offers the same amount of storage memory, and both use Qualcomm Inc.'s 1-gigahertz Snapdragon processor.

The smartphone also features a mobile hotspot capability, broadcasting a small Wi-Fi connection to up to eight other devices. Verizon said customers can get the capability for free through May 15. Afterward, they can pay $20 for 2 gigabytes of data access a month.

Verizon believes its network will stand out above the rest of the 4G chatter. While the network is only in a few dozen markets, the early connection speeds available have been significantly better than its competition.

Источник: Total Telecom

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