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Last Updated: August 1st, 2012

Verizon's long-awaited 4G LTE service, promising speeds of 5-12 Mbps down and 2-5 Mbps up, is launching in 38 major metropolitan markets and over 60 airports today (get the full list here). Since no LTE-capable mobile phones exist on VZW just yet, the only way to experience LTE on the move is by getting 1 of 2 (soon to be 3) 4G USB modems. Unlike Sprint's truly unlimited 4G plans, Verizon's plans carry a data cap: $50 for 5GB or $80 for 10GB, with a $10/GB overage fee. Additionally, Mac OS X support has been left out for now. Not the ideal situation, but if you need 4G speeds and want to go with Verizon, you don't really have any other choice.

The 4G modems, LG VL600 and Pantech UML290, both of which are available at VZW starting today, will run you $150 each after a 2-year contract, with a $50 discount if purchased online at VZW.com. If you don't like contracts, you can purchase the modems at their full retail price of $250.

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Alternatively, rather than paying $150 and fiddling with the rebate, you can pick up the LG VL600 at Wirefly for free:

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So, does the LTE network trump Sprint/Clear's WiMax? How are those modems currently performing? While I don't have Verizon service myself, I can point you in the direction of some people who have conducted some tests:

The verdict? Fast, at least while nobody is on it, but expensive as hell. One thing's for sure - Verizon won't be seeing any of my money, at least not until the data cap is gone. And by the time LTE-enabled cell phones roll around in 2011, we better see some more attractive price points in the plans department - after all, Sprint's unlimited 4G privileges are only $10 more than 3G.

So, who's jumping on LTE today? Is it going to be more than just crickets?

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Kane

    Like hell am I paying $80 per month for this.

    • key

      I agree because who would wanna pay that much specially if other company's as sprint offer the 4g for free so why pay for something when you could get it for free not a good way to bring competition

      • Bod1ggity

        Sprint charges $10 extra for "4g"... t-mobile is the only one with now increase for their coverage... HSPA+ is better than wi-max on your battery as well... T-mobile for the win. I live in tampa and do get "4g" coverage and would from Verizon as well... but for the same plan it would cost me $70 more with verizon... screw big red. Im glad I left them.

  • Bateluer

    No need for a USB 4G modem, especially not at those prices. Do want to see the phones in a few months, itching for a phone upgrade.

  • http://bill-mcminn.com/commentary/ltebasics.html Bill McMinn

    Too bad for the high price but a Droid on LTE would be pretty cool though. With an expected Verizon iPhone to use the LTE network Verizon's Droids could get lost in any we now have the iPhone hype.

  • Jess

    $80.00 a month.. for limited?
    as fast as it is, it seems like billing headaches. let's wait till they make it unlimited..

    sorry, it's still CLEAR for us. It is surprisingly fast in our area (almost like Comcast fast)-- and with the cool new hotspot portable modems.. (almost like cable)-- and with 3 on-the-go bundles as unlimited-- super cheap to have wifi on all the time. so with one line-- one hotspot--- 8 users. Clear's getting too much bad rap for what they offer for their prices...