Verizon announced the rollout of their 4G LTE network this week with a launch date of Sunday. Select major media and tech sites have been testing the LTE network with a mixed bag of results.
The Good: Verizon’s Tony Melone said that Verizon’s 4G LTE would offer 5-12mbs download speeds and upload speeds around 2mbps. MSNBC, Slashgear and GigaOM saw download speeds in Verizon’s stated range. All of the media outlets testing Verizon’s 4G LTE saw results within Verizon’s advertised speeds. The good news is that everyone saw speeds better than the average speeds for Sprint’s WiMax (4G) network and inline with speeds some are seeing with T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network
The Bad: All of the sites are reporting connectivity issues especially in transitioning or “hand off” from 4G to 3G. During the conference Verizon said that there would be less issue going from 3G to 4G but in their description of changing from 4G back to 3G it seemed that there would be a little gap and there is.
Although some are insisting that it’s bad that only USB Sticks are available at launch, we actually think this is a good thing. Verizon is rolling this network out wisely and only starting with USB sticks is a responsible move. They shouldn’t release full devices until there has been sometime to launch, gauge and tweak the network.
The Verizon 4G LTE network will launch Sunday in 38 cities and 60 airports. The pricing is $50 for 5gb and $80 for 10gb with a $10/gb overage that will not be capped.
Are you signing up for LTE?
**updated** Commenter “That Guy” pointed out some grave errors in our original piece. While participating on the conference call we mistakenly quoted the wrong figures in our live blogging for download speeds. We’ve corrected the story to reflect that**
Microsoft has reportedly told reuters that they are in talks with TV programming providers to license their broadcasts for re-broadcast via the Xbox 360 via a web based subscription service.
Microsoft plans to use it’s existing Xbox 360 hardware to deliver tv conent to Xbox 360 homes rather than have them adapt to new hardware. Microsoft has been dabbling in the TV business for quite sometime. They just began offering AT&T Uverse customers the ability to use the Xbox 360 as a set top box. They have also been offering programming from ESPN on the Xbox 360.
The theory for the Xbox tv service is that it would become a virtual cable operator, charging a monthly subscription fee for it’s users to see the major networks television programs and their related content via the Xbox. Microsoft is said to also be considering offering programming subscription blocks of sports, childrens or other themed content. The xbox 360 would allow for the interactive features that Google TV is vying for.
As traditional cable companies are charging more and more for the content to stay afloat, companies like Hulu and Netflix have customers “cutting the cord” by offering streaming television shows and movies for as little as $7.99 per month.
Microsoft has been trying to break into the television world for years. Microsoft started in the space with webtv then MSN-TV and also is partner in MSNBC. The Xbox 360 television plan seems natural but with only mediocre results in their previous endeavors will they be able to become a player?
Microsoft, often a rival to Google, just released their Windows Phone 7 platform insisting that WP7 was fun where WP6 was for business. That may not be enough as all of the Windows Phone 7 models have been available in Bogo and Free specials so far this holiday season.