Verizon LTE and Sprint WiMAX are two providers of wireless broadband Internet access aimed at delivering high-speed data to mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and portable computers. This type of data connection is commonly known as a 4G, or fourth-generation, network. At the time of publication, 4G networks are still relatively new and are available only in select areas.
Download speeds for any 4G network can fluctuate depending on signal strength and how much traffic the network is dealing with. Verizon's LTE network is capable of reaching download speeds of anywhere from 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps, a significant increase over the more common 3G networks. Sprint's WiMAX network has slightly slower results with download speeds of around 4 Mbps, still faster than 3G.
According to Verizon's website at the time of publication, the company's LTE network is available in over 74 different cities and 76 airports across the country. It aims to cover 146 cities by the end of 2011 and plans on providing LTE coverage to its entire current 3G network by the end of 2013. To create a competitive advantage for its WiMAX network, Sprint partnered with Intel to embed chips that support WiMAX into computers.
Both Sprint's WiMax network and Verizon's LTE network will be accessible only by supported devices. At the time of publication, Verizon's LTE-capable devices include three Android smartphones, two Android tablets, two mobile hotspots and two USB modems. As of 2010, Sprint offered three WiMAX-compatible devices, and several laptops can be configured with WiMAX modems.
Pricing of 4G plans from Verizon and Sprint depends on the type of plan you're interested in. All prices are current as of the time of publication. For a 4G Mobile Broadband plan from Verizon, the price ranges from $20 to $80 per month depending on the monthly data allowance you need, anywhere from 1 GB to 10 GB. Sprint offers an unlimited data plan for its WiMAX 4G network for $50 per month.
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