We might look back on 2011 as the year of 4G (in addition to the year of the tablet, year of Sandy Bridge, the year 3D fizzled, etc). That's what HTC's hoping for, as company execs have set an internal goal of shipping around 10 million 4G-enabled smartphones with support for either LTE or WiMAX, DigiTimes reports.
For the sake of comparison, HTC shipped just 3.5 million 4G smartphones in all of 2010, and that includes 3 million of the popular Evo 4G devices for Sprint. The other 500,000 were myTouch 4G phones for T-Mobile. Combined, the two smartphones accounted for 14 percent of HTC's total smartphone shipments.
This year HTC plans to supply 4G models to Verizon, Sprint, and some lesser known names in Europe and Japan. One of these will include the HTC Incredible HD, which will start shipping to Verizon in the second quarter.
Quick, what's the one technology you can't live without? If you answered "Broadband," then you're in agreement with 28 percent of respondents in Zogby's latest survey covering a range of topics, including must-have technologies.
Email came in second with 18 percent of the votes, while 3 percent of respondents chose Facebook as the one technology they' can't live without. Not surprisingly, 18-24 year olds view things a bit differently, with 15 percent saying they can't live without Facebook.
The survey also asked respondents what they think will happen in the next decade, and here's what they said:
Regular use of stem cells and cloning techniques to create human organs for transplant (43 percent)
Computer chips implanted in people to monitor their health (40 percent)
Robots capable of performing manual labor jobs (40 percent)
Incorporation of virtual reality into home entertainment (36 percent)
Zogby pinged 1,950 adults online from December 8-10, 2010.
Sprint today added a a few more markets to its 4G service umbrella, including Denver (as well as other cities along Colorado's Front Range, such as Boulder, Fort Collins, and Greeley) and Bridgeport, Connecticut, the wireless telco announced.
"Sprint is the leader in providing 4G service, and we're proud to extend our advanced mobile broadband network to two more cities today," said Matt Carter, president, Sprint 4G. "Sprint is the first national wireless carrier to make 4G a reality for our customers, and now Sprint's 4G is available in 70 markets across the country."
Those markets include coverage in 26 states, the District of Columbia, and several major metropolitan areas, some of which include Los Angeles, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Boston, Nashville, Salt Lake City, and more.
Sprint says its 4G service peaks at more than 10Mb/s compared to up to 3.1Mb/s for 3G, offering downloading speeds at up to 3-6Mp/s versus 600Kb/s-1.4Mb/s.
"Customers can use video chat on their HTC Evo 4G, and families traveling for the holidays can power up the Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot to share 4G speeds with up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices -- such as an iPad, laptop, iPod touch, or game console -- making downloads, streaming video, and Web browsing fast and easy," Sprint said.
Sprint offers a pair of 4G Mobile Broadband plans, including a $50/month 4G-only option and a $60/month 4G/3G combo option. Both plans boast unlimited 4G usage.
Good news for MetroPCS customers living in the Boston, New York City, and Sacramento metropolitan areas, you now have access to the carrier's unlimited, no annual contract 4G LTE services.
"As the only no annual contract, pay-in-advance wireless service provider offering 4G LTE services, we continue to build our network to allow more customers to experience our unparalleled value and flexible, affordable service," said Roger D. Linquist, president, CEO and chairman of MetroPCS. "By offering customers the ability to do more with easy access to their social networks, exclusive MetroSTUDIO content and expanded web browsing capabilities, we are giving our customers what they need – a way to stay connected, without sacrificing time or money."
The caveat? MetroPCS only offers one phone that can take full advantage of its 4G network, the Samsung Craft. The Samsung Craft runs $299 after a $50 mail-in-rebate, while 4G service plans start at $55/month.
Just as Sprint is trying to do, T-Mobile is building a 4G tablet and hopes to have it in the hands of consumers in 2011, Yahoo News reports.
T-Mobile's tablet will actually run on HSPA+, so it's not true 4G, at least not by ITU's definition. But then again, neither is Sprint's WiMax infrastructure.
"Consumers will continue to see HSPA+ fuel future innovation in a variety of mobile consumer electronics from smartphones and tablets to emerging devices," T-Mobile said in a statement. "T-Mobile will continue to be at the forefront of wireless innovation, delivering an aggressive 4G product lineup in 2011, including 4G tablets."
Also like Sprint, T-Mobile is so far keeping secretive about its upcoming tablet, other than support for 4G connectivity. There's no word yet on things like OS, screen size, cost, or a specific release date.
In the wake of the Comcast dispute with Level 3, many have been wondering about the ISP's future bandwidth management plans. Some idea that's been floated often is the idea of usage-based pricing. Users would be charged based on the amount of data they use each month. According to Reuters, Comcast has denied that such a scheme is in the works.
"Right now we have no plan in place to activate usage-based pricing," said Comcast president Neil Smit. The FCC recently announce that ISPs would have some leeway in network management, provided they are transparent about their practices. Comcast currently has a single tier for residential customers with a 250GB data cap.
Comcast maintains almost all users never get near the monthly cap, although some have taken umbrage at having the cap at all. Would you welcome the opportunity to pay for a particular data cap, os is the one size fits all approach best?
On Sunday, December 5, 2010, Verizon Wireless plans to flip the switch on the "world's first large-scale 4G LTE network," which the company claims will be the fastest and most advanced 4G network in the U.S.
"Our initial 4G LTE launch gives customers access to the fastest and most advanced mobile network in America and immediately reaches than one-third of all Americans, right where they live," said Dan Mead, president and chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless. "That's just the start. We will quickly expand 4G LTE, and by 2013 will reach the existing Verizon Wireless 3G cover area."
Out of the gate, Verizon's LTE network will encompass several major metropolitan areas, including Akron, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa, and a whole bunch more.
Coinciding with the launch are new data plans, starting with a $50/month option for up to 5GB of data. Verizon will also roll out two new 4G LTE USB modems, including the LG VL600 (available at launch) and the Pantech UML290 (available soon).
Sprint on Monday rolled out its 4G service in a handful of new markets, including Los Angeles, Miami, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Ohio. That brings the total count to 68 markets across the country, with plans to launch 4G service in San Francisco on December 28, 2010.
"We have witnessed a great demand from our customers for 4G speeds, power, and capabilities in these cities already and today they officially have it," said Matt Carter, president, Sprint 4G. "We are proud to deliver on our commitment to serve our customers and deliver 4G to more major metropolitan areas in 2010."
Sprint's 4G service (6Mbps) offers up to 10 times faster Web browsing compared to 3G (600kbps - 1.7Mbps), which comes as a boon for things like streaming video and music.
Verizon on Monday announced it has gone and tripled the speed of its FiOS service to 150/35 megabits per second (Mbps), making it the fastest mass-market broadband service in the country.
"The new 150/35 Mbps FiOS Internet offer establishes a new benchmark for high-speed Internet in America, and paves the way for a flurry of emerging bandwidth-intensive applications to reach mainstream status," said Eric Bruno, Verizon vice president of product management.
We have to call out Verizon for touting this as a mainstream option, because at $195/month (with a one-year service agreement), the little old lady who lives down the street isn't going to jump on this, nor will most other residents around the block. But for those who do pony up for the fastest Internet service around, Verizon says they will be able to download 20 high-resolution photos (100MB) in less than a five and a half seconds. Uploading those same photos would take less than 23 seconds.
"Our new 150/35 Mbps offer will also support burgeoning bandwidth-intensive applications such as Internet video to TV and PC, 3D TV and movie downloads, high-definition and real-time video conferencing, and online data backup," said Bruno.
In an attempt to rally up the troops (and no doubt generate some marketing buzz), Virgin Mobile today issued a call to consumers far and wide to "demand an end to misleading broadband advertising." According to the self-anointed savior of broadband, Virgin claims that many ISPs advertise speeds of up to 20Mbps or 24Mbps but only deliver an average speed of 6.5Mbps.
"People are paying for superfast broadband but receiving a service stuck in the slow lane. Broadband providers need to stop advertising speeds that not a single customer can receive and we’re asking people to support our call for change by signing up to stopthebroadbandcon.org," said Jon James, executive director of broadband, Virgin Media. "Faster broadband means better broadband, whether you’re surfing the Web, watching TV online or downloading music and UK consumers deserve superfast broadband they can trust, rather than having to rely on the fairy tales and broken promises of current broadband advertising."
The new website launches today and includes plenty of propaganda, a petition, and a link to SpeedTest.net to see if you're getting the broadband speed you're paying for.
So what about Virgin Mobile? Are they providing the broadband speeds they advertise, or is Virgin being a hypocrite here? We'll warn you to consider the source, but according to Virgin, subscribers are generally getting what they pay for. You can view the typical speeds at least 66 percent of Virgin subscribers are getting compared to the service tier they're paying for here.
Are you getting the broadband speed you pay for? Hit the jump and sound off!