Verizon today is launching a new HomeFusion Broadband service that lets consumers use an LTE router in their homes to connect up to four wired and 20 wireless devices to the web through Verizon's LTE network. Basically the router works like a typical mobile hotspot that uses LTE for basic web connectivity but that uses Wi-Fi signals to push data out to home devices. Verizon began trialing its HomeFusion LTE program in March and will make it available to the general public tomorrow.
The catch for a lot of consumers, though, may be the service's pricing. Verizon is charging $60 a month for 10GB of data, $90 a month for 20GB of data and $120 a month for 30GB of data. While many home broadband providers are now implementing data caps, most of them are far higher than what Verizon is offering for its HomeFusion services and at much lower prices. Comcast, for example, offers plans that start as low as $20 a month for new customers and doesn't impose any bandwidth caps until customers exceed 250GB per month.
What's more, Verizon is charging a one-time equipment fee of $200 per installation, so you'll be paying a premium to have your service installed as well as for monthly data charges. Verizon also says it will charge customers an additional $10 per each GB they consume over their monthly allowance. Verizon seemingly recognizes that its LTE HomeFusion plans are fairly pricey as it's promoting them specifically for areas "with limited broadband choices."
Verizon's LTE network, which launched in December 2010, now covers an estimated two-thirds of the U.S. population, around double the coverage it had when it first came online. Verizon's overall goal is to have its entire current 3G footprint upgraded to LTE by the end of 2013. LTE, which stands for Long Term Evolution, is essentially a bridge from 3G technologies such as HSPA+ and EV-DO Rev. A to the 4G IMT-Advanced technologies that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) says will deliver consistent speeds in the 100Mbps range. Verizon and AT&T are currently the only two carriers that have LTE networks up and running in the United States although Sprint is expected to launch its own LTE network in the coming weeks and T-Mobile is slated to roll out LTE sometime in 2013.
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