Verizon Wireless today announced a big expansion of its 4G LTE service in the Puget Sound region, where the ultrafast wireless broadband was tested and debuted in Seattle in December.
Now the company has broadened the coverage beyond the greater Seattle area. Startng July 21, it will be available in Olympia, Tacoma and Everett.
In the north end, the service area includes Arlingon, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Smokey Point and Snohomish. In the south end, coverage areas include Lacey, Tumwater, Yelm, Lakewood, University Place, Steilacoom, DuPont, Parkland, Puyallup, Sumner, Algona and Pacific.
The company also announced LTE service in the greater Portland area will begin July 21.
Verizon says LTE service offers 5 to 12 megabits per second when downloading and 2 to 5 Mbps uploads.
To use the network, you need either an LTE hotspot device, USB modem or one of Verizon’s LTE phones. The company offers three: the LG Revolution, Samsung Droid Charge and HTC ThunderBolt. They cost $250 to $300 plus data plans and activation fees.
Verizon’s also starting to offer several Web tablets that take advantage of LTE, including the new 10.1″ Samsung Galaxy Tab and an updated version of the Motorola Xoom.
LTE is dazzingly fast when you’ve got a good signal, but the network is still being built up and the phones available so far don’t have great battery life.
AT&T is also building up an LTE network and Sprint is reportedly working with a startup to add LTE to its wireless mix.
Verizon says its LTE network is up to 10 times faster than its current 3G network. The company expects to have 4G coverage everywhere it has 3G service by the end of 2013.