Verizon 4G service to hit 38 cities by end of 2010

Verizon 4G service will be available in Boston, Chicago, and Settle, among other major American hubs.

Verizon 4G service is breaking out of the box.

Verizon 4G service will be available in 38 cities and more than 60 airports by the end of the year, Verizon Wireless reps said in an announcement yesterday. The Verizon 4G network – also known as LTE, or Long-Term Evolution – is said to transmit data up to 10 times as fast as a standard 3G connection, and will be accessible from a range of mobile devices, including smartphones and laptops.

"The more capacity we give [people], the higher the speeds, the lower the latency, the more things that they do in a wired environment they can do in an unwired environment," Verizon Wireless exec Tony Melone told the AP yesterday. Among the cities targeted by Verizon for 4G service are Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, and a handful of major California hubs.

Verizon competitors Sprint and T-Mobile are also in the process of rolling out next-generation data networks across the country, and AT&T has said a 4G network is under construction.

These are strange days for Verizon. For one, there is the nearly omnipresent Verizon iPhone rumor, which got its most recent airing this morning, courtesy of the folks at the Wall Street Journal. (Verizon has denied that it is working on an iPhone.) A Verizon iPhone, of course, would heighten the competition between Verizon and AT&T – which holds an exclusive contract with Apple – and likely bring a whole new swath of customers to Verizon.

And then there's the refund debacle. As we reported earlier this week, Verizon is set to issue refunds to millions of customers hit by unwarranted "mystery fees." The carrier has apparently been under investigation by the FCC for more than a year; reps for the carrier have admitted that the fees in question were labeled as "data charges," and were applied even to the statements of customers who had not purchased a data package from Verizon.

"Questions remain as to why it took Verizon two years to reimburse its customers and why greater disclosure and other corrective actions did not come much, much sooner," an FCC spokeswoman said recently.

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